Do you know how many different languages Ed Sheeran has sung in?

It’s no secret that Ed Sheeran wrote his latest album while traveling the world and soaking up different cultures and styles of music. But he went further than that. He also isn’t afraid to delve into the world of languages either. What’s most impressive is his commitment to getting the foreign lyrics and their pronunciation spot on, and he has previously said he would only sing in other languages if he could do it properly.

However, it’s not just on his latest album that he tries his hand at other languages, but in songs recorded before and after too. Take a look below!

Twi – “Boa Me” & “Bibia Be Ye Ye”

Last year Ed teamed up with Highlife and Afrobeats artist Fuse ODG to create a new track called “Boa Me”, where Sheeran sings the entire chorus in flawless Twi – a dialect from Ghana. The song was actually written at Fuse ODG’s house in Ghana with his friends, and Ed has described it as “probably the most fun I’ve had writing a song”. The song peaked at #52 in the UK charts. While it didn’t reach the top 40, this upbeat track is definitely worth a listen!

This actually isn’t even the first time that the Twi language has featured on an Ed Sheeran track! The song/lyrics “Bibia be ye ye” from the Deluxe version of his latest album ÷ (Divide), is also Twi, and means “all will be well”. Fuse ODG was also involved in the writing of this song which peaked at #18 on the UK chart.

Spanish – “Barcelona”

“Barcelona” is another song which appears on the Deluxe version of ÷ (Divide), and this time Ed takes on Spanish at the end of the song which includes the following lyrics:

Mi niña, te amo mi cariño

Mamacita, rica

Sí tú, te adoro, señorita

Los otros, viva la vida

Siempre vida, Barcelona

In case you’re wondering, “Mamacita” roughly translates as “hot mama”!

This is another feel-good song which tries to incorporate the atmosphere in this amazing city. It charted at #12 in the UK charts.

Italian – Perfect Symphony

Spanish isn’t the only language from mainland Europe that Ed sings in! After the incredible success of “Perfect” (initially debuting at #4, before climbing to #3), and then “Perfect Duet” with Beyoncé which propelled the song to #1 in the charts, Sheeran collaborated with Italian legend Andrea Bocelli to create a more operatic version, known as “Perfect Symphony”. Bocelli translated part of the song into Italian but it’s not just him who sings the Italian, with Ed also joining in. Incidentally this is also the first song in which Ed collaborated with his brother Matthew, himself a classical composer, and whose string section appears on both this and the original version.

Gaelic – Thinking Out Loud

Ed is clearly in touch with his Irish roots, spending plenty of time across the Irish sea with his family, having some tattoos in Gaelic, and also musically with two Irish-influenced songs “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” appearing on ÷. But he went even further back in 2015 by recording a Gaelic translation of one of his biggest hits “Thinking Out Loud”. It was recorded especially to be included on the album CEOL 2016, which was that year’s album from Conradh na Gaeilge (an organisation promoting the Irish language) and their Irish-language radio station Raidió Rí Rá, produced for “Irish week” (Seachtain na Gaeilge), featuring Gaelic tracks from the best Ireland has to offer.

The whole song is translated into, and sung in Gaelic, which I think we’ll all agree is pretty impressive! I’ll leave it up to native Gaelic speakers to let us know how good his pronunciation is, but I’m sure, as with the other songs, he wouldn’t have released it if he wasn’t able to get it right, as is his great professionalism and his respect for other languages and cultures.

Keep up the great work Ed!

International French Fries Day

Today is one of the best day of the year: the international French Fries Day. But let’s find out something about most people’s favourite guilty pleasure.

Apparently, French fries are not French at all. Their origin can be tracked back to Belgium, where potatoes were allegedly being fried in the late-1600s. The legend says that poor villagers in Meuse Valley used to eat small fried fish they caught in the river but, as the river would freeze during winter, they had to find an alternative source of food. When the potato was introduced in the continent, the villagers began preparing the root plant in the same way they used to treat the fish: slicing and frying it. And this is how the earliest “French” fries were born.

So, how come they’re called FRENCH fries? It seems that it’s Americans’ fault. When American soldiers were stationed in Belgium during World War I they were introduced to the fried goodness and, as the official language spoken by the Belgian army was French, they started calling it “French fries”. As most misunderstandings in history, once the name was spread there was no way to correct it. And we still call them “French” after centuries, and will probably keep on doing so for quite a while.

But is this a mistake that only English speakers make? Let’s have a look on how everybody’s favourite side dish is called in different countries.

France/Belgium (French): les pommes frites / les frites

Belgium (Dutch): friet/fritten

China: 薯条 shu tiao (potato stripe or stick)

Czech Republic: hranolky (little prisms)

Denmark: pomfritter

Finland: ranskalaiset perunat (French potatoes) or ranskalaiset (French)

Germany: Pommes / pommesfrites

Greece: τηγανιτές πατάτες tiganites patates

Italy: patatine fritte

Japan: フライドポテト furaido poteto  (Fried potatoes)

Korea: 감자 튀김  Gamja twigim  

Latin America: papas fritas

Columbia/Mexico: papas a la francesa

Portugal: batatas fritas

Romania: (Belgian) cartofi prajiti

Russia: картофелем фри  kartofel’ fri

Sweden: franske kartofler (French potatoes)

The Netherlands (Dutch): patat frites / Vlaamse friet (Flemish fries)

Iceland – The Land of Ice and Fire

Iceland, the land of ice and fire, counted 350,710 inhabitants in 2016. The crazy thing is that, last summer, Iceland hosted 2 million tourists. Why are there so many people willing to visit this Nordic island? Here are some pieces of information that might interest you.

Iceland has a very rich culture and a breath-taking scenery which appeals to any travel lovers. If you decide to go, expect to remain speechless all along. You’ll see mountains, glaciers (Europe’s largest glacier is in Iceland), rivers, waterfalls, craters, volcanoes, geysers, geothermal areas, hot springs, lagoons, icebergs, black sand beaches and more. What is crazy about visiting Iceland in summer time is that the sky remains bright all-night long. Indeed, the sun rises at around 3am and sets a little bit before midnight, allowing only a few hours of half-darkness. Let’s just say that it can be a bit disturbing… However, if you decide to go in winter time, you are more likely to see amazing northern lights and the land covered with a thick coat of snow. Two completely different worlds!

Iceland’s traditional dishes include lamb, fish and skyr (a yoghurt-like cheese).

If you love animals, you can expect to see sheep and Icelandic horses all around the country. Watch the sheep while driving, they are free! Also, Iceland’s only native mammal is the Arctic Fox.

Sport is an important part of Icelandic culture. The main traditional sport in Iceland is Glíma, a form of wrestling. Popular sports are handball, basketball and football. The Icelandic national football team qualified for the 2016 UEFA European football championship for the first time. Thus the 2018 FIFA World Cup is very important to Icelanders (I’ve heard 98% of Icelanders watched the games of their national team). Iceland has excellent conditions for skiing, fishing, snowboarding, ice climbing, rock climbing and hiking. Iceland is also one of the leading countries in ocean rowing, Icelandic rower Fiann Paul became the fastest ocean rower. He has claimed 24 Guinness World Records in total for Iceland. Swimming is also popular in Iceland, as geothermally heated outdoor pools are widespread, and swimming courses are a mandatory at school.


I hope you’ve learned a lot by reading this article and that you are already booking your flight to Reykjavic! Besides, one thing that you have to experience at least once in your life is a relaxing moment in the stunning Blue Lagoon.

International YOGA day

International YOGA Day

Yesterday, 21st June, the day of the summer solstice, was the International yoga day. The date was chosen because it is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and a meaningful day all over the world. In India, it marks the transition to Dakshinayana and it is said that the first yogi, Adi Yogi, began imparting the knowledge of yoga to mankind on this day. The United Nations, recognising how popular yoga has become all over the world, proclaimed this date as the International Yoga day. For this year the theme is Yoga for Peace.

Let’s learn some terms!

Yoga – In Sanskrit it means “union” or “connection” and is used to indicate both a state of connection and a body of techniques that allow us to connect to something.

Asana – yoga poses or postures. This is what we refer to when we say that we take ‘yoga classes’. But it is only one aspect of yoga. Asana has the purpose of opening the energy channels and create balance in body and mind.

Chakra – Represents the energy centres in the body, located between the base of the spine and the crown of the head. We have 7 chakras and how we feel and where we are in life is reflected in these chakras. Therefore, having balanced chakras has a positive effect on people’s well-being.

Mantra –  is a word, sound or phrase repeated either out loud or in the mind to make concentration easier while meditating.

Namaste – is an Indian greeting. In Sanskrit “Nama” means “bow”, “as” means “I” and “te” is “you”. When saying Namaste, people should bring their palms together in front of their heart or forehead and bow the head a little, closing their eyes. It is a custom to start and end a yoga class with Namaste.

Prana – is the life energy or life force in all living beings. The equivalent of Qi or Chi.

Sutras – a collection of teaching about yoga (“sutra” means literally “aphorism”) originated from the sage Patanjani. They describe the philosophical basis of yoga.


So now that you’ve been introduced to the basics, why not celebrate this day by attending yoga tester sessions like millions of people around the world?


Flag Day – USA 2018

Flag Day

The fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday. However today, the United States are going to celebrate their flag day, which was first created on June 14, 1777.

On that day the resolution read: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. ”


The first celebration of the U.S. flag’s birthday was held in 1877 on the 100th anniversary of the flag resolution. However, it is believed that the first recognition of the flag’s birthday dates back to 1885, when the school teacher, BJ Cigrand, organised a group of Wisconsin school children to observe June 14. Cigrand is now known as “Father of Flag Day”.

The anniversary of the flag resolution was officially established by the proclamation of the President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. However, the flag day is not considered as an official federal holiday, except for New York and Pennsylvania, which on June 1937 became the first U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday. On the other side, New York statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.


              Flag Day parade


The 68th Annual Appleton Flag Day Parade was held on June 9, 2018. Appleton Wisconsin, claims indeed to be the oldest National Flag Day Parade in the nation, which is held annually since 1950. Nevertheless the oldest one probably takes place in Fairfield, Washington, that began in 1909 or 1910.

This year the Appleton parade was preceded by a patriotic concert and flags were handed out along the Parade route one hour before the Parade began.

Nowadays, Parades do not only celebrate the flag. They are also to celebrate the army, honouring men and women that are serving the army forces and also veterans.


If today you feel the Americanism in the air, do not forget the Danish Day Flag tomorrow 15th of June!


Are you aware of your country’s Flag Day?

Here few examples:


 Italy: 7th of January

 England: 23rd of April

 Wales: 1st of March

 Scotland: 30th of November

 Romania: 26th of June

 Canada: 15th of February

 European Union: 9th of May

 Lithuania: 1st of January

 Moldova: 27th of April

 Norway: 17th of May

 Portugal: 1st of December

 Ukraine: 23rd of August


Ployglot : Events and Gatherings

Polyglot events:


Are you keen on languages? Do you define yourself a polyglot? If so, did you know that in Europe and outside Europe polyglot events occur every year? It sounds cool, right? Every year, thousands of people, polyglots and monoglots meet up and have great time together during polyglot events which include:


  • Polyglot Conference
  • Polyglot Gathering


Polyglot Conference

Polyglot Conference events started in Budapest in May 2013 and since then they take place in a different country every year. In 2014 in Novi Sad (Serbia), 2015 in New York, 2016 in Thessaloniki (Greece), and 2017 in Reykjavik. Attending these events, you would combine your passion for languages and travelling!

Who can participate?

Literally everyone! It doesn’t matter if you speak 10 or 1 language or if you speak them well or not. Go and enjoy the experience of listening people of all over of the world speaking several languages.

Where is it?

This year the polyglot conference will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It usually takes place in Universities, colleges or in cultural centres. If you are meant to go, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the country! Indeed, Ljubljana is considered the green capital of Europe and it’s also very cheap!


Dates are already public: 26-28 October 2018.

How is it organised?

There will be four separate tracks for papers and presentations, three related to “Diversity in Language” and one honouring Slovenian culture and regions.


The entire weekend costs 129 €, while only one day 89 €. If it seems expensive, don’t worry you can still take part in “Friday evening event” which costs 39 €.

For further details visit their website:


Polyglot Gathering

Another important event for polyglots must be Polyglot Gathering. So far there have been Polyglots Gathering in Berlin in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and in Bratislava in 2017 and 2018. For this year the event is already finish, but stay tuned for next year!


The event is organised over four days and includes lectures, talks, discussions and language taster session. Furthermore, free walking tour, city game, and picnic brunch were organised this year.

Are you keen to learn another language?

This year Polyglot Gathering made a “Language challenge”. In 60 days the participant is challenged to learn either Slovakian or Esperanto through free apps listed on the website. Take a look, it could be interesting!


Sooner the better. If you pay weeks in advance you will get a discount!

This year the event took place from 30th of May to 3rd of June. The cost until the 11th of April was 120€ for the whole event and 40 € for one day. Late 11th of April to 23rd of May it costs 140 € for the whole day and 45€ for one day.

In addition, if you are a student (under 26 years old) don’t forget your 50% discount!


For further information visit:

U.N Russian Language Day

U.N Russian Language Day

Today, June 6th has been chosen by the United Nations to be ‘Russian Language Day’, on the day of the Father of Russian Literature, Alexander Pushkin’s birthday.

Russian is not only one of the six official languages of the United Nations, but also the first language of more than 160 million people mainly located in Europe. There are also big Russian communities in Asia and North America. It is the most popular native language in Europe and the official language of Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan but also the lingua franca in most former Soviet countries.

Even though it is one of the big world languages, Russian does not place well amongst the most studied foreign languages. After the Cold War Americans stopped seeing any benefit in learning the Soviet language and the same can be said of the former Soviet countries. In addition, the lack of any funding from the government to promote the language does not help to change the situation.

But this is probably also because learning the language of Tolstoy might seem dreadful. If the Cyrillic alphabet frightens you, it is nothing compared to the pronunciation and the six cases that Russian learners have to deal with. The good news is that, once you speak Russian, Slavic languages (Polish, Czech, Croatian etc.) will be much easier to learn!


Russian Translation Services 232 × 174Over the past few years, Russia has been opening itself up to the world! In 2014, Russia hosted the Winter Olympics, and in a matter of days, the worlds media will be back in Russia for the World Cup. So, its never been a better time to start learning a few phrases!

If the fact that more than 250 million people speak Russian between L1 and L2 is not enough, you should know that it is considered to be the international language of space. In fact, since 2011 NASA has been requiring that astronauts speak Russian fluently in order to attend their training. So, if you are thinking of a career in Outer Space you’d better pick up your Russian textbook and Удачи! (Good luck!)



Political Correctness Gone Mad?

Political correctness gone mad?

These days so much is censored… words can be deemed too vulgar and inappropriate to be used or heard. Obviously, a lot of this censorship is to protect people from language they might not want to see.

This has gone viral, so I felt the need to write about it as well! Do you believe foreign words should be censored if the word looks like an English word meaning something completely different?

The story:

A mother wanted to celebrate her sons graduation with a cake. Nothing too harmful in that. Actually a rather nice thing to do! So, she ordered it online, and wanted the cake to be personalised. He did very well with his results, so she wanted to incorporate some Latin into the cake. What she wanted on the cake was “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude class of 2018”. In English Summa Cum Laude means ‘with the highest distinction’. A lovely thing to be awarded with in school.


But, if you were to look at that phrase, there is a ‘sexual reference’ (if you can call it that!) in English. This meant that those making the cake, did not write it exactly how the mother specified.  When the cake was picked up, it actually said “Congrats Jacob! Summa — Laude class of 2018”. Now, back to my question… Has political correctness gone mad? Cum was deemed to profane to be written on the cake.

Not the distinction they were hoping for!

You don’t need to know Latin to know that phrase does not sound English. Clearly it has some alternative meaning to the English word used. Surely, you’d think to check with the customer before changing their order. Well it seems they didn’t even have to do that! The woman included special instructions, informing them of the word, what it meant, what language it was, and a link to explain the word! She couldn’t have given them more information!


Now put yourself in her position… How would you feel? The foreign phrase was censored on a cake for her son. She was given no warning from the bakery that they would censor this word. The bakery didn’t think about the embarrassment this would cause the mother and her son when they have to explain to their friends and family what happened with the cake… This is why her post has gone viral! Therefore, many online dictionaries have seen a spike in people looking up this phrase to check its validity. All for a Latin phrase…


Roland Garros 2018- Useful Vocab!

The French open 2018

Roland Garros is almost here!



On the 21st May, some of the best will take to the clay courts to compete for the French Grand Slam title. Now, when it comes to clay, we’re always going to think it will be Rafael Nadal, but this year, who knows! Could it be the comeback year for Novak, will Roger take the title to add to this years Aussie open, or will Andy be fit enough to try and win his first French open title?Serena Williams is back from having a baby, and will be looking to get her title back! She has shown that her time away from the sport hasn’t slowed her down as she’s been on fire since returning.

So, how many of the players would have been familiar with French tennis vocabulary?

All should by now be familiar with the scoring system as it is called out after every point. But what about other vocabulary, such as the type of shots they were playing, or even the type of court they were playing on?

I thought it would be good to include a list of some important vocabulary related to the sport as, who knows, maybe one of the games stars will read this and find it useful! Or, perhaps more likely, it could come in handy to those studying the language, or could maybe be interesting to those who enjoy a game of tennis, or maybe a mixture of the two.

So here goes:

  • le court de terre battue   clay court
  • le court en dur   hard court
  • le court en gazon   grass court
  • le filet   net
  • la ligne de fond   baseline
  • la ligne de service   service line
  • la balle de tennis   tennis ball
  • le carré de service   service box
  • le couloir   alley, tramlines
  • la raquette   tennis racket
  • un ace   ace
  • un amorti   drop shot
  • le coup droit   forehand
  • la deuxième balle   second serve
  • une double faute   double fault
  • un effet   spin
  • une faute   fault, error, out
  • un let   let
  • le lift   topspin
  • un lob   lob
  • le revers   backhand
  • le revers à deux mains   two-handed backhand
  • le service   service, serve
  • le slice   slice
  • un smash   smash
  • la volée   volley
  • la balle de break   break point
  • la balle de jeu   game point
  • la balle de match   match point
  • la balle de set   set point
  • un jeu décisif   tie-breaker


and finally, a few verbs for you:

  • donner de l’effet (à une balle)   to put spin (on a ball)
  • être au service   to have the service, to be serving
  • frapper   to hit
  • jouer   to play
  • prendre le service de quelqu’un   to break someone’s serve
  • servir   to serve
  • tenir le score   to keep the score


Roland Garros women’s final is on June 9th, with the men’s final on June 10th- more than enough time to learn some helpful phrases to understand the umpire!


Signing up a birth

Signing up a birth

birthYou might’ve seen my blog a few weeks ago about an Iranian couple who required an interpreter for the birth of their child. I’m sure anyone who has given birth or been a birth partner will say it is a scary and traumatic experience. You are hoping that everything runs as smoothly as possible, so a healthy baby arrives. Imagine being surrounded by healthcare professionals and not understanding them…

Luckily, interpreters are on hand to try and reassure the mum-to-be and birth partner with translations from the doctors and midwifes around them. The interpreters can explain what the midwifes expect to happen, if there are any complications. Same with the mum-to-be. She can voice her worries, feelings, pains to the midwifes. Though some things don’t need to be translated.

When you hear that cry from your baby, whatever the language, you know that for that moment, everything is ok. The baby is awake, and out! No interpreter needs to interpret a cry. It can be heard and understood in any language.

Well…. I’ve been watching more of One Born Every Minute (I have it on series link…). And another couple were in to deliver their baby and required an interpreter… a sign language interpreter! Both mum and dad were deaf and were delivering through caesarean. I was very interested in this birth as they wouldn’t be able to hear that cry from their baby… and with caesarean, you might not actually feel the moment your baby is born.

Delivering with signs

Mum and dad, through the sign language interpreter were able to voice their thoughts and feelings about the caesarean and went off to theatre to have their baby delivered. They hadn’t found out the gender of the baby and asked for the midwife to bring the baby around to them, so they could see rather be signed the gender.

The dad made a fair point. With sign language, everything is about sight and feelings – neither would be able to feel the birth due to the aesthetic, but they would be able to see the gender if the baby was brought around to them.

The interpreter did a wonderful job helping both mum and dad in theatre, and when the interpreter heard the baby cry, she immediately signed that over to the parents, so they knew their little one was born and was awake. You could see they were both overwhelmed when they were told, so their new adventure could begin with their baby.

This was probably a very special experience for the sign language interpreter as well! It’s not every day you get to tell a couple their baby has arrived!

Without this interpreter, the experience for mum and dad would’ve been unbearable. They were not able to understand their doctors, and their doctors not understanding them… Interpreters are needed for all sorts of situations in our lives – be it medical, legal, educational… the list goes on. Without them, the bridge between language would be vast. They are the hidden heroes of the world!

I still have a few more weeks of watching One Born Every Minute before my new adventure begins, so you might see another blog on this!!

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Russia

FIFA World Cup 2018

football-300x115The domestic football season has ended we now know our national champions for the year. Next up are the finals of the Champions League and some domestic tournaments. This can only mean 1 thing now – the internationals are approaching! The FIFA world cup is 1 month away!

Every 4 years the World Cup arrives and although the home nations aren’t as represented as they were 2 years ago in the Euros, the countries are gearing up for an exciting month of football in Russia.

As hosts, Russia have the first game on the 14th June against Saudi Arabia, with the final of the tournament on the 15th July. We at Lingua Translations are gearing up for an exciting summer of sport (let’s not forget Roland Garros and Wimbledon are approaching too!)

Russia 2018

The group stage:

Group ARussiaSaudi ArabiaEgyptUruguay
Group BPortugalSpainMoroccoIR Iran
Group CFranceAustraliaPeruDenmark
Group DArgentinaIcelandCroatiaNigeria
Group EBrazilSwitzerlandCosta RicaSerbia
Group FGermanyMexicoSwedenSouth Korea
Group GBelgiumPanamaTunisiaEngland
Group HPolandSenegalColombiaJapan


These are the 32 countries competing for the greatest award in football. 4 years ago, in Brazil the final was Argentina vs Germany, with Germany taking home the championship. Argentina are back with a vengeance and will be trying their best to take the trophy home, especially as this is likely to be Lionel Messi’s final world cup. Brazil will also be looking to get back some pride after an awful beating by Germany in the last world cup. The home defeat was not the plan for what is thought to be one of the greatest footballing nations in the world.


Can we expect much from England this year? It’s been 52 years since England took the trophy home with them (I know I sound like Rose from Titanic there! – it’s been that long!). Every tournament there is optimism followed by a sense of dread that we won’t make it out of the group stage… England should make it out of this group, but who’s to say how much further. It would be great to see them do well, but hey, we’re a bit more pessimistic about England than our parents/ grandparents were 52 years ago!


Any shockers here?

Well Italy didn’t make it through! We were all a bit shocked about that bombshell! Spain Vs Portugal in Group B could be very interesting. Spain were on a very good winning streak in the earlier part of the decade – winning the euros twice in a row and the world cup. Then along came Germany to take the World Cup 4 years ago, and Portugal winning the Euros 2 years ago. David De Gea vs Christiano Ronaldo… This could be very exciting indeed. Morocco and Iran might just struggle a bit to get out of that group, unless there’s a massive shock!


So, who will you be supporting? With the premier league as it is, our club teams have players from all over the world! Will this help the English? Our boys will know a bit about the teams they are playing against as they spend 9 months playing with them each year. They’ll know their weaknesses and their strengths… but can they capitalise?


Being an international event, you can expect most things to be in English, but we’re a translation company and we love languages, so here’s some helpful lingo if you want to ‘blend’ into the crowds in Russia!

Bolelschik [болельщик]Football fan
fanat[фанат]Football fan
mundial[мундиаль]World Cup
Match [матч]Match
Arbitr [арбитр] / sudya[судья]Referee
Gorchichnik [горчичник]Yellow card
Myach [мяч]Ball
Gol [гол]Goal
Champion [чемпион]Winner
Vratar [вратарь]Goalkeeper
Poluzaschitnik  [полузащитник]Midfielder
Napadayuschy [нападающий]Forward
Gde nakhoditsya stadion? [где находится стадион]Where is the stadium?
Kto igraet? [кто играет]Who is playing?
Kakoy schyot? [какой счёт]What’s the score?
Kto vyigral? [кто выиграл]Who is the winner?
Za kogovyboleete? [за кого вы болеете]Which team do you support



Bring on a great summer of sport!




Eurovision 2018: and the winner is…

Eurovision 2018:

And the winner is!

eurovisionAnother year of Eurovision is over, and the winner with an impressive 529 points was Israel- almost 100 more than their nearest rival! This year 43 nations competed through semi-finals and the Grand Final. The show wasn’t without controversy as someone crashed the stage when the UK act was performing and took her microphone off her, but overall, it was a great show! Portugal had never hosted Eurovision before, and put out all the stops to make sure it was a memorable night for everyone.



Last year, Israel’s future was in doubt in the Eurovision as the broadcaster decided to cancel Eurovision, but another Israeli broadcaster jumped in to keep them in the competition, and luckily, they did as they’ve won!

The Israeli song was a bit random, but hey, its Eurovision! You expect it! Unfortunately though, they broke the recent tradition of foreign language songs winning Eurovision. Netta of Israel sang in English this year with the song ‘TOY’.


In second was Cyprus with ‘Fuego’, followed by Austria with ‘Nobody but you’

The highest foreign language song was Italy in 5th place with 308 points. Estonia came in a solid 8th with their Italian Operatic song La Forza (245 points).

The voting

Well the jury and audience were not on the same page! Poor Australia, the jury gave them 90 points, then the audience gave them the lowest score of 9 – totalling 99 points… Their worst display at Eurovision.

After the jury vote was counted, Austria was top of the list, but wasn’t as popular with the public vote. Israel and Cyprus were quite high up after the jury vote but won with audiences over Europe and Australia.




What an exciting way to do the voting, as there were some shocks in the crowd when they were giving out the audience vote in the last few minutes of the broadcast!



We’ll see you next year in Israel!!

All aboard!

Eurovision 2018 – Semi-Finals

Eurovision 2018: Semi-Final 1

We’ve had our first semi-final for Eurovision 2018! Last night, we saw our first semi-final and the countries safely through to the grand final on Saturday are:

  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Lithuania


eurovisionThese countries join the hosts Portugal along with France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK in the grand final on Saturday. The Czech Republic artist did have to go to hospital after sustaining an injury to his neck during rehearsals. Hopefully he’ll be back to full strength for the grand final on Saturday!

Albania, Lithuania will be singing in their native tongues, while Estonia will be signing in Italian. This semi-final also included Greece and Armenia who were singing in their native languages – unfortunately they didn’t make it through to the grand final this year.

Us Brits might notice some artists this year as well. Finland’s entry was once in the X Factor. Saara Aalto came close to clinching the title 2 years ago, so no doubt will get some UK support on Saturday. Another familiar face comes from Ireland: Ryan O’Shaughnessy once competed in Britain’s Got Talent in 2012. Being our closest neighbour plus the added talent show note, Ireland could be looking at getting quite a sizeable vote from the UK.


Semi-final 2 – Thursday 10th May

In the second semi-final for Eurovision the following countries sing for their place in the grand final:

Norway, Romania, Serbia, San Marino, Denmark, Russia, Moldova, Netherlands, Australia, Georgia, Poland, Malta, Hungary, Latvia, Sweden, Montenegro, Slovenia and Ukraine.

Serbia, Georgia, Hungary, Montenegro and Slovenia will all be singing in their native language with Denmark using some Icelandic phrases in their song. We wish them the best of luck and hopefully we’ll see a few of these at the final!


We’re also supporting the Aussies, because why not eh! Maybe we can persuade Eurovision to let in Canada one day! After all, Celine Dion has sung at Eurovision in the past (just not for her home country!)

How Lingua Translations can help with your sporting needs

How Lingua Translations can help with your sporting needs

Here at Lingua Translations, one of the many services we offer is language services in the field of sports (“field” – get it?!). We have provided a range of services – mainly to sports teams and agencies – and perhaps we could help you next!

Whether it’s translating articles to broaden to global appeal of major football clubs, to interpreting for new players, or even teaching them English, we are here to help you reach your goals (I’ll stop with the puns soon) with any sporting matter, no matter how big or small.

Sports translation? We got this!

Professional-sport-translation-300x300We translate and proofread match reports and articles for one of the biggest clubs in world football right now, while also translating promo’s involving a major betting agency and various teams including not only a Premier League winning club, but also a 5-times European cup winning team too! Besides translating articles, reports and promos, we’ve also been asked to translate medical documents needed for a player’s transfer. This is of course top-secret stuff as any leak could jeopardise the transfer, or alert other teams who might try and snap the player up instead! With Lingua Translations, you are safe in the knowledge that your documents remain 100% confidential.

We also have experience with interpreting for major football clubs as well, including helping them interpret during football camps for kids (run by another Premier League and Champions League winning club), as well as helping players during their medical before a transfer. Once the players had signed, we also offered them English language lessons in our office to help them settle. For players coming to a new country and culture, this can be a great help!

While a lot of our recent sports work has revolved around football (or “soccer”, for our American clients!), our linguists also have experience and knowledge in a variety of sports and related subjects for example things like cycling and athletics, but also things such as physiotherapy for sports injuries.

Whatever your sporting-related language requirements – whether you are an internationally supported sports team, or an individual amateur athlete – why not get in touch? You can visit our website at, or you can send us an email at

Eurovision Song Contest 2018

It’s that time of year again!

Eurovision 2018

eurovisionEurovision starts on the 8th May with the semi-finals, followed by the grand final on Saturday 12th May. Last year, Portugal won the contest for the first time. The Portuguese entry was head and shoulders above the rest of the field. In the Jury vote, 18 countries chose Portugal as their favourite, handing them 12 points. But also, they won the televote with 12 countries awarding Portugal their 12 points. What was great about the Portuguese entry last year, was they sung in Portuguese! In 2016 Ukraine won with a mixture of Ukrainian and English in their entry. So, could foreign languages be popular this year?


This year:

There are 43 entries for Eurovision this year, with Russia returning to the fold after not participating last year. As normal, there are two semi-finals where countries from across Europe (and let’s not forget those Aussies) will compete for their place in the Grand Final.

Portugal, as winners of the 2017 song contest are automatically entered into the Grand Final alongside the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy (as the main contributors of the Song contest).

As it is Portugal’s first-time hosting Eurovision, we can be sure to expect a fantastic night. There were 5 cities across Portugal that applied to host the show, but the winner was the capital Lisbon and the Altice Arena which is able to hold 20,000 spectators.


Who’s singing what??

As I wrote in the Eurovision blog last year, many do not sing in their native language, instead choosing to sing in English. This year however it’s looking like more nations are choosing to sing in their own language:

Lithuania (partly in English, but has some Lithuanian in the song)
Estonia – Elina Nechayeva will be singing La Forza – in Italian. Not exactly the native language of Estonia, but hey, it’s a foreign language to us Brits!
Serbia – will include some phrases in the Torlakian dialect as well as Serbian
Denmark are singing mostly in English, besides a few Icelandic phrases


Maybe this has something to do with Portugal winning the song contest last year, or these artists/ songs represented their country the best, but there will be a lot of foreign language songs for us Brits to enjoy this year.


We will keep you up to date with the Semi-Finals and of course the Grand Final! We’re already very excited here at Lingua Translations to see these countries perform in Portugal!


All Aboard!

What could you interpret? A birth?

Could you interpret a birth?

These days interpreters are needed for everything! As an agency we get various requests for legal proceedings, events, interviews, football players, medical issues… the list goes on. The range of needs for interpreting is immense. But what could you interpret? Legal can be a difficult area to interpret as you can be dealing with some very technical and sensitive situations. What about interpreting a labour? Could you do that?


birthI was casually watching ‘one born every minute’ (preparing myself for when I’ll be in labour in July!) and there was a Persian family requiring an interpreter for the birth of their child. It made me think, could I interpret something like that?! It is a special time in the parents lives and you’d be there helping them understand what is going on, and helping the doctors and midwifes understand how mum is feeling.

To give a bit of history of the family

They had two children in Iran through caesarean under general anaesthetic. They then moved to Britain and were learning English and became pregnant with their third child. Although, between them they could understand a lot of what the midwifes were saying, there was still a language barrier. An interpreter was needed to help the labour run smoothly.


They were planning on having a caesarean for the 3rd child, but unlike in Iran, we do not use general anaesthetic for the procedure. As you can imagine the woman was a little worried about being awake for the procedure. The interpreter was there to help them understand what the consultants, doctors and midwifes needed the mum and dad to understand, along with the mum being able to explain how she feels and what was happening with her.

From a language point of view, the conversation would’ve been easy for any medical trained interpreter to assist with. The difficult part for the interpreter would’ve to be present during what it a very special and unique time for the parents. Especially considering in Iran the fathers are not normally allowed to be present for the births.

Sometimes we forget how vast a profession interpreting can be. On the news we only see interpreters in a legal point of view, but there are so many areas of life where interpreters are needed. So, my question is: what could you interpret? At Lingua Translations we aim to find the best suited interpreter for of our clients. Could you interpret something as unique as a labour?

Have you ever thought that proofreading was important?

Proofreading Day – 8th March 2018

Have you ever thought that proofreading was important?

Maybe not, when in school, it might’ve been unlikely to write an essay and re-read it for mistakes before handing it in to a teacher. But when it comes to business, we think proofreading is very important. We think it’s great that there is a day dedicated to this needed skill! You have no idea how great a fresh set of eyes can be on a piece of work.


mistake 344x146Proofreading, when it comes to translation, could be to check for any mistakes or typos. It is also checking the translator has used the right style of writing including localisation. When we hire translators we normally check to make sure we are hiring the right one (Castilian Spanish or Costa Rican Spanish for example). Proofreading double checks that everything is perfect for our clients. Last thing we as a translation agency want is ‘egg on the face’ of our clients. One blemish can distract the reader from the entire article.


Mistakes in translation

You always hear of the mistakes in translation, and 9 times out of 10 it is because it was a machine translation and there was nobody checking the translation to make sure it was correct. Some of them are hilarious to see, others are just absolute mistakes! Therefore, proofreading is very important when publishing work.

mistake 416x300Take the Welsh sign for example. What happened here was an automated message, but the company took it as the translation. What the Welsh says is I’m not in the office right now. Send any work to be translated’. Quite a bit different from the original English. A proof-reader would’ve been able to spot this immediately and rectify it before it caused any damage to the company. Instead, this sign was make, and put up without anyone noticing the grave error!


mistake 810x539At least, you could say the translation looked ‘Welsh’. This is more than what can be said for this example. In Asda, they used Scottish Gaelic instead of Welsh for their translation of parking. I know you can say, well they are both Celtic languages, but they do not look similar! This is why proofreading is important. This made news, and Asda did not come out well.


So, if you are a proof reader out there, celebrate today! This is your day to be proud of the great work you do for companies and clients out there.



Missing the Olympics? Don’t worry, the Paralympics are on their way!

Missing the Olympics? Don’t worry the Paralympics are on their way!


468px-The_PyeongChang_2018_Paralympic_Winter_Games_Emblem.svgThe opening ceremony for the Paralympics is on Friday!! If it’s anything like the opening ceremony for last month’s Olympics we have a lot to look forward to! The games last from Friday 9th–  Sunday 18th March with 80 Gold medals up for grabs. The winter games have been held every 4 years since 1976.


Sports of the Paralympics:

Alpine Skiing


Cross Country Skiing

Ice Sledge hockey


Wheelchair Curling


Not as much as with the Winter Olympics, but all of these will be amazing to see!


What to expect:

Around 42 countries are expected to compete at these Games. Many of us can get a bit confused over the classification of athletes, but there are helpful links and videos out there per sport to explain the classifications.

In the Winter Olympics last month, Norway came out on top, with Germany hot on their heels, followed by the likes of Canada and America. Norway have done very well in all games they have participated in. They are number 1 on the Winter Paralympic nations with 315 medals (134 gold). They are followed by the likes of Germany and Austria, USA and Russia. So, expect Norway and Germany to come out well in these Paralympic games. South Korea impressed at their home games last month. With the extra funding being pumped into their sporting programmes, we might see some South Korean athletes doing well here at these games. Russia this year will be competing as Olympic Athletes from Russia, a neutral team rather than as Russian Federation.  This follows the Winter Olympics last month.



In Sochi 2014, ParalympicsGB had their most successful games, winning 6 medals. They will be hoping to match or improve on that this year! Wheelchair Curling is an area that team GB have exceled in the past few Paralympics, so hopefully they can get a medal once more! Our Winter Olympic team had a bit of a mixed bag, but managed to beat their most successful games, making it a positive for GB Sport. There was a decent amount of 4 and 5th places, so definitely something they can work on for Beijing 2022. Let’s see if our parathletes can build on the success of team GB and give ParalympicsGB their best haul of medals!


So, let’s rally once more in PyeongChang and support our athletes! Go ParalympicsGB

Oscars 2018

This year’s Oscars are over, and it looks like it all went to plan. There were no incorrect winners announced like last year’s La La Land!

Foreign Language Film

You might remember in my previous blog, the nominees for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film were:

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

The Insult (Lebanon)

Loveless (Russia)

On Body and Soul (Hungary)

The Square (Sweden).


This year’s winner was A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

The Oscars 300 × 168The film follows Marina, a transgender woman in a relationship with someone 30 years her senior. After the death of her partner the family become suspicious and we watch her try to work through her grief through all the suspicion. This film also won at the Berlin Film festival, but was not nominated at the BAFTAs. This just shows how fought the foreign language category has become! Globes, BAFTAs and Oscars all announced a different winner! We wish this film and the Chilean film industry the best of luck in the future! Winning an award as prestigious as an Oscar can make such a difference to inspire a generation into film making.

A Special mention has to go out to Loveless- who was the only film to be nominated in all three awards ceremonies. Even though they didn’t win any of the awards, the buzz of being at all 3 will make an impact in the Russian film industry!


Best Live Action Short

I also want to mention another winner from last night’s Oscars – Best Live Action Short. The winner was The Silent Child – a British short film based on a child with hearing difficulties. This film has really shone a light on Sign Language. The story follows Libby, a four-year-old deaf child who lives a silent life, until she is taught to communicate through Sign Language but her social worker. This film shows the struggles that all deaf people have to go through until they learn sign language. We think it’s amazing that this film managed to get an Oscar, and now maybe more emphasis will be put on this very special language.

Better still, when picking up the award, writer and actress Rachel Shenton, used sign language in her acceptance speech. We see Sign Language at many events these days, but it’s very special for someone to use Sign Language at the Oscars. We’re hoping this film really makes an impact on Hollywood, but also on the wider audience who can now start to understand the struggles for young people with hearing difficulties, but better still, the triumphs these amazing individuals can achieve.


Here at Lingua Translations we understand the importance of Sign Language. It is a lesser known language, but a very important one, helping people across the world understand and be heard. We wish this film and the young actress Maisie the best of luck!

National Anthem Day: 3rd March

National Anthem Day

3rd March 2018


Tomorrow is national anthem day! Here at Lingua Translations, we absolutely love anthems! You might’ve seen our anthem blogs during sporting events such as the autumn internationals, Lions tour and the 6 Nations.


culture 2 425x400Your national anthem shows the culture and history of your nation. It can at times be the very identity of your nation. It is sung with passion and love, especially at sporting events! There are some absolute great anthems out there as well. Of course, being a company in Wales, we absolutely love the Welsh anthem: Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. But look for example at South Africa’s anthem. That anthem shows the diversity of the people of South Africa as its in 4 languages! An amazing anthem to hear indeed.


Anthems such as the Welsh anthem and the South African anthem might be the only time you hear the language of the nation. With Wales, most people speak English over Welsh. Some Welsh aren’t fluent or even an amateur in Welsh. But when it comes to the anthem, people sing. They might not fully understand the lyrics, but they will sing in Welsh. With South Africa, it’s opportunity for the nation to hear 4 of their largest languages. Languages you might not hear daily in your area. In New Zealand for example, their anthem is sung in both Maori and English, once again inviting the country to sing and hear the languages of their nation.



There aren’t too many nations that don’t have their own national anthem. One of those is England who use the UK anthem, but don’t have their own anthem.  They have adopted the UK anthem ‘God Save the Queen’. This can at times make relations tricky amongst the 4 nations of the UK as they don’t look at God Save the Queen as the UK anthem, rather the English anthem as they do not have their own. All other nations of the UK have their own anthems as well as the UK anthem.


Weirder still, Spain does not have any official lyrics as part of their anthem! Along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and San Marino, they only have the music rather than lyrics.


National Anthem Day is a great day to learn your anthem, and better still, the history and culture behind it. Check out our blogs on anthems, and see if there are any you love!

The Importance of English

The importance of English


English Translation 275x183I came across an article recently that stated that the Olympic games prove the importance that every country should learn English. Even though I am someone from an English-speaking nation, I found this idea scary. Why English over all the other large languages of the world?


The article stated that during a mixed curling match, Norwegians and Chinese spoke to each other in English. It stated that broken English conversations were happening all over the PyeongChang Olympics, so why bother learning anything besides English. The article even included an English proficiency table showing the countries who are proficient in English. Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Norway came out on top. It also showed countries who were struggling with their proficiency in English such as Iraq and Laos.


As we know, English is one of the main languages of the world, along with Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic and Russian. These languages have a significant cultural impact on the world. They are all official languages of the UN and are the first language of many people across the world. If we were to go by those who speak the language as their native tongue, English would not be the dominant language – Chinese would be. The Olympics has two official languages – French and English, alongside the language of the country hosting the games.

So why English as the ‘lingua franca’?

Sometimes I feel we can get a bit to incompetent thinking that everyone we meet will know English – be that fluently or broken English. We travel to foreign countries, hoping signs will be in English and restaurant staff will speak English. This is not always the case, and we should prepare for it. We surround ourselves with language every day, but sometimes don’t pay attention to the languages around us besides our own.


We should not look at that match between the Norwegians and the Chinese as the norm. Norwegians speak many languages. If the game was between them and the German team, a different language might’ve been spoken between the two. We need to embrace the languages of the world, instead of clinging on to one language. The languages that we speak make us who we are. It’s our culture, our tradition, our livelihoods. I think life might be a little boring if we all spoke the same tongue.

Embrace language!

The Netherlands would come out high on quite a few tables for their language proficiency. Not just English. European countries tend to learn more languages as they want to communicate with the world, not just the English-speaking world. We should do the same! Don’t rely on English to help you with all your business needs. Some of the biggest businesses in the world are not from an English-speaking country. Your clients, and customers might not speak the same language as you, but that doesn’t mean is all lost. Here at lingua translations we connect businesses to the rest of the world. We help bridge the language gap so you can be assessable to whoever you need.  We do not believe that English should be the world’s language, rather one of the many needed to communicate with the world.


How many types of English are there?!

How many types of English are there?!

English Translation 275x183It can be difficult for foreign people when they arrive in the UK and struggle to speak English, because they have been influenced by other English-speaking countries and don’t really know what is British or not. I am French and I spent 1 year in Australia before coming to Wales. I got used to saying, “How are you going?”, meaning “How are you?” in Australia. Apparently, that is not how British people ask how you are doing. Instead, they tend to say, “Are you alright?” or “How are you doing?”, but I mean, how should I know as I’m French? I guess that the Americans say something different to make it even more difficult for us… This is only a small part of my struggle, otherwise it wouldn’t be funny…


I would say that we are mostly influenced by American English, as we mostly watch American movies, series or TV shows. That’s why it makes it harder for us to detach ourselves from it. I study translation and my teachers always tell us to be aware of the difference between American and British English, because it is the translator’s job to be able to make the difference. But I suppose that you have to go to both countries to be capable of spotting differences. I’ve just been told that the Americans say “pants” whereas British people say “trousers”, once again, I wasn’t aware of this difference.

Slangs of English

Besides, every English-speaking country has its own slang and accent. You get used to the different accents after a while, but slang is hard to get. Even though you get the slang at some point, you’ll want to speak it then to sound more like them, but you have to perfectly understand it to be able to use it correctly and in the right situations.


Well, I think that you get it now, it is not easy being a foreigner.


BUT I do know that French is a hard language to learn, that’s why I am happy to be French!


BAFTAs – The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden

This year’s BAFTAs are over, and the winners have been announced. bafta 350x144This year the BAFTA for Film Not In The English Language went to The Handmaiden. The Handmaiden is based on the novel “Fingersmith”. The Handmaiden tells the story of a young maid hired by a con man to seduce a wealthy heiress. The thriller did very well to beat the other films to win the award.

Nominated for Film Not In The English Language 2018:


First They Killed My Father


The Salesman


Winning a BAFTA is huge for the Korean film industry, as it is the first Korean film to ever win at the BAFTAS – this will help skyrocket Korean films in the UK. Nominations for any film is great as people will go out to watch them as they are now in the spotlight. But it is even better for the country as a whole if a film is nominated as it helps the entire sector gain momentum.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the nominations for the Oscar’s Best Foreign Film are out, and seeing both nominations together shows you how hard fought this prize is. Only 1 film made it to both nominations. That is Loveless from Russia. The Handmaiden did not make it to the final five for the Oscars. Then look at the Golden Globes from last month. Loveless was nominated, along with First They Killed My Father, but the winner came from France/ Germany. In The Fade, which was not nominated at either Oscars or BAFTAS. There are so many great international films out there these days for the awards ceremonies to spotlight.


Are foreign language films gaining in popularity?

I might be a little biased, but I think they are. There are some spectacular films that have come from across the world. Let’s not forget about the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo franchise that was such a hit across the world. Hollywood decided to remake it only a few years later in English to make it more accessible to the English-speaking audience.  One of the films nominated this year ‘First They Killed My Father’ is from Cambodia and Angelina Jolie was involved in the creation of this film. That was a great boost for Cambodian films to have such a Hollywood heavyweight get involved in their films.


From us at Lingua Translations, a big congratulations to all who were nominated for a BAFTA. But a special congratulations for The Handmaiden and the first Korean winner!


Europe, the UK’s doorstep, but not for much longer

Europe, the UK’s doorstep, but not for much longer

Are you like me? Comfortable being first off, a British citizen and secondly, a European? Knowing that Europe is right on your doorstep, always going to be there. One of those places you’ll eventually make it to but before that time comes, you’re way too excited by the bigger, further undoubtedly incredible countries, cities and landmarks of the world. Well, time’s up I’m afraid. Yep, time to stop the gallivanting to the other side of the world and time to buy a quick and easy flight to Europe this summer. Time is ticking and it’s quite frankly your last chance to travel in simplicity and more importantly, stress-free around all the extraordinary European countries that you’ve always taken for granted.

Not so simple trip anymore?

Brexit – that dreaded word. The word that must not be said. Well at least in my opinion anyway (but that’s another blog, for another time!). We are so very close to being stripped of our entitlement to travel anywhere in the EU and instead, become ‘third country nationals’ with no automatic right of admission. 2019 could see the introduction of ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) in the aim of strengthening the EU’s external borders. Once Britain leaves the EU, UK citizens will be covered by the same rules as, for example, Americans and Australians. Each traveller will be required to have an ETIAS, a halfway house between unrestricted entry and the onerous process of applying for a full visa.


Don’t worry – this blog isn’t all about the future intentions of Brexit. It’s about something a lot more fun and that’s HOLIDAYING. And it looks to me as if all your holiday plans for 2018 are sorted. Check out my list of the top 11 European destinations you MUST visit this summer. Or any time the year, actually. Pack your bags, put the rest of the world on hold and set off to EUROPE.

So here goes, just like they do it on the television – the destinations on my list for 2018 are, in no particular order:


  1. The Colosseum – Rome, Italy

Oh, yes. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And what’s more quintessentially Roman than the Flavian Amphitheatre? While its history may be brutal, the Colosseum’s structure is one to behold, built of concrete and sand, in its day, it could hold up to 55,000 people! It also takes the top spot as the most famous tourist attraction in Rome. Well worth a visit.


  1. The Eiffel Tower – Paris, France

French Translations Eiffel Tower 176 × 287One of Paris’ most visited attractions, the Eiffel Tower takes the top spot of most tourists visiting the City of Lights. And, with the structure standing at 342 metres in height, it is hard to miss. The tower actually welcomes around 7 million visitors each year which gives it the title of the most visited paid-for monument in the world.

  1. Sagrada Familia – Barcelona, Spain

Whilst Barcelona’s impressive Catholic Cathedral still stands unfinished, you can’t deny that the Sagrada Familia is pretty spectacular. Designed by architect, Antonio Gaudi, the cathedral has now entered its last phase of construction with the tallest of its new towers set to reach a whopping 172 metres! After 133 years in construction, if you’re waiting to see the finished piece, it is on track to be finished in 2026 which will also mark the centenary of Gaudi’s death.

  1. Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa, Italy

Poor foundations it may have, but if this tower was up right it wouldn’t be as appealing, right? This is one human error we can certainly be thankful for. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a tourist hotspot, and you can be sure to see hordes of people trying to get that one picture showing them propping up the tower. Now safely anchored into the ground, you can even take a walk up the tower, crazy!

  1. Brandenburg Gate – Berlin, Germany

One of the best-known landmarks in Germany, Brandenburg Gate, is a symbol of peace that was built in the eighteenth century, and it’s certainly something to look at. Originally, the designer’s concept for the gate was a ‘Friedenstor’, or victory arch, as we may know it. Through Berlin’s varied history it has also shared its existence as a political icon and a symbol of a divided city. Luckily, we can now enjoy the Brandenburg Gate as a symbol of unity. It’s certainly a unique and memorable place to visit during your time in Berlin.

  1. Ancient City Walls – Dubrovnik, Croatia

Considered the most magnificent fortification monument in Europe, a walk around the walls of Dubrovnik are sure to be a highlight of your trip to this spectacular coastal city. Stretching around the city, the walls reach over 2km in distance. So, if you’ve indulged in some of that delicious Dubrovnik seafood, it’s the perfect excuse to fit in a post-lunch stroll.

  1. The Acropolis – Athens, Greece

Mention an 80ft hill with a flat top and it may not sound overly impressive. Mention its name, and it suddenly becomes one of the most iconic monuments in Europe. The Acropolis, especially the Parthenon, are by far the most characteristic sights to see in Athens. A must on any trip to the city. It is considered to symbol the beginning of Western civilisation and the Parthenon was even dedicated to the patron goddess of Athens, Athena. Athena who is also the goddess of wisdom making it a real treat for culture enthusiasts and historians alike.

  1. Duomo – Milan, Italy

An exceptionally large and elaborate Gothic cathedral found in the main square of Milan, the Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous buildings in Europe. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world and its dazzling white facade is definitely worth a photograph. It took nearly six centuries to complete.

  1. Northern Lights – Scandinavia/Iceland

Icelandic-Translations 2048 × 1275It’s cold and it can be expensive. But there is no doubt that taking a trip to Europe’s northern reaches with the aim of seeing the aurora borealis appeals to millions of us. Head far out to the wilderness as possible due to light pollution making the green and blue lights less visible. As well as the jaw-dropping sky spectacle – take the opportunity to go mushing, sledding and snowshoeing and savour the deep silence of the frozen landscapes.

  1. Red Square – Moscow, Russia

Stepping onto Red Square never ceases to inspire. For starters, the vast rectangular stretch of cobblestones, surrounded by architectural marvels, is an imposing sight, right at the very heart of Moscow. This celebrated Red Square, 400m-by-150m, separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and now the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitay-gorod. The word ‘krasnaya’ in the name means ‘red’ now, but in old Russian was the word for ‘beautiful’. The square lives up to the original meaning of its name. Furthermore, it evokes an incredible sense of awe to stroll across a place where so much of Russian history unfolded.

  1. Lake Bled – Slovenia

With its emerald-green lake, picture-postcard church on an islet, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops, Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort. Drawing everyone from honeymooners lured by the over-the-top romantic setting to backpackers, who come for the hiking, biking, water sports and canyoning possibilities.

And just to spoil you, here’s a couple of extra favourites:

  • Venice – Italy
  • The Charles Bridge – Prague, Czech Republic
  • Pamukkale – Turkey
  • Seville – Spain (for Holy Week)
  • The Matterhorn – Switzerland
  • Chateau de Chenoncheau – Loire Valley, France
  • The Atlantic Road – Norway
  • Tuscany – Italy
  • The Alhambra – Spain
  • The black beaches – Iceland
  • Mezquita de Cordoba – Spain
  • Versailles – France
  • Ephesus – Turkey
  • Pompeii – Italy

Language at the Olympics

Language at the Olympics

Winter Olympics 2018 1200 × 750We’re well into the first week of the Olympics and so far, we’ve seen a few stumbling blocks when it comes to language, and a few interesting and fun stories!

Evolution of a language

As I mentioned in a previous blog, when a language is ‘separated’, the language changes. This was seen with the North and South Korean Hockey players. As the Korean language has been separated between north and south, the language has evolved on both sides. This meant that Northerners were struggling to understand the Southerners and vice versa. Better still, the coach was Canadian! Handy vocab lists have been made to help everyone understand each other better

Norwegian egg-catastrophe

This was in the news recently and made headlines across the world. Norwegian chefs, with the help of google translate, ordered eggs for the athletes. They meant to order 1500, but 15,000 arrived! That’s quite a big difference. Luckily the supplier could take back the un-needed eggs, but it just shows the issue with translation in the Olympics. Thankfully this was an easy mistake to be rectified, but could’ve easily have been avoided if they used a translator rather than a machine.

American dream coats

This was also in the news recently. Apparently hidden in the American coats is a help sheet of useful Korean vocab. There will be translations for temperatures (much needed in the winter games), along with translations for areas in the Olympic village and helpful questions for when you get a bit lost! The coats have been in the news for being heated with conductive ink technology, helping the athletes in the frozen village. But we think this help sheet is such an amazing idea!

The opening ceremony

Many people seemed rather confused to hear French during the opening ceremony of the Korean Winter Olympic Games. People obviously assumed there would be Korean, along with English, but wondered why there was a 3rd language. The answer is simple. The official languages of the Games is French and English. So, it doesn’t matter where the games are held, official announcements must be in these two languages, along with the language of the host country if different. You might wonder why Greek isn’t the official language, as the Olympic movement came from Greece. When Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern Olympic Games, he declared that French would be an official language, but never included Greek.

Order please!

One of the highlights of the opening ceremony is when the athletes enter the stadium. Normally Greece is the first team out in the ceremony as the Olympics came from Greece. Last in is normally the host nation. In between are all the countries in chronological order. So, you’d normally see the likes of Zimbabwe near the end of the list, something that freaked a few of us out in the Beijing Summer games in 2008 when they were near the front of the list. In these games, the countries are going out in chronological order of the Korean alphabet, Hangeul. So, Denmark followed New Zealand, Bermuda followed USA… Many people were slightly confused, anxiously waiting for their team to arrive. Hungary and Hong Kong were the last out – not normally the case!

Pancake Day 2018

Pancake day

pancake day 968 × 681Today is Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day). This means there will be a lot of pictures circling online of people’s glorious attempts of flipping pancakes. If you have some creative friends out there, you might even see pancakes with an intricate design. Mine on the other hand are blobs!


Why is Shrove Tuesday celebrated?

In a religious sense, it’s the last day before the 47 days of fasting before Easter Sunday. Though some only fast for 40 days of Lent, leaving out the Sundays. Shrove Tuesday changes on a yearly basis, depending on where Easter falls. This year Easter Sunday is on the 1st April, a few weeks earlier than it fell last week, so those participating in Lent, will need to remember that for Valentine’s Day tomorrow!

Obviously, Shrove Tuesday has religious connotations, but these days it has become a cultural event where people give up certain luxuries for lent. Without understanding the religious significance of it all.



Why pancakes?

Pancakes are made of eggs, flour, milk and butter – all the glorious ingredients that back in the day, you’d hate to have lying around the house during Lent. These 4 ingredients are thought to represent areas of Christianity as well. These days our pancakes are a little bit more indulgent. Chocolate, maple syrup, blueberries, caramel…

During Lent, people sometimes give up certain luxuries such as alcohol, chocolate… even bacon! In the religious sense, this is to show penance for your sins. So Shrove Tuesday is a great way to fill up on your favourite foods before you give them up for 47 days!

Here at Lingua Translations, we are not celebrating today in the office (potential fire hazard!) Hope you’re all enjoying large amounts of pancakes!

How young should you start learning languages?

How young should you start learning languages?


bilingual_kids 375x212

Doctors tell us that our children can absorb so much information at such a young age. In their first 10 years they will be able to remember quite a lot. So, when should children learn a language? Most of us would say when they start school and it becomes part of the curriculum.


In Wales, learning Welsh happens from a young age. As soon as you start school, you’ll slowly be introduced to Welsh classes. These days, you might find some primary schools offering German, French or Spanish for example – but these wouldn’t be too in depth. You would be learning numbers, weather, feelings and the alphabet for example.


If you speak another language in the house, then you might have your child learn this earlier in life. If for example, the mother is French and the father is English, no doubt that the mother would try and introduce their child to French earlier than schools would introduce the language to the child.


Recently we heard that 2-year-old Princess Charlotte is already speaking Spanish! She has only just begun Nursery School, but sources say she speaks Spanish with her Spanish nanny. Obviously, we don’t know how much Spanish she can speak, but being introduced to another language at a young age, we’re sure she will pick it up quickly. Sources already state she can happily chat away in Spanish.


Starting to feel inferior yet?

There are rumours that Prince George is also learning languages at a young age as well. The Duchess confirmed that her children are both ‘linguistically curious’. Studies show that childhood is the perfect time to learn a language. If you go into Toys R Us for example, look at some of the learning toys – many have another language on it. I’ve seen talking clocks offering 3 languages to the infant, or interactive animal toys with multiple languages spoken. Now, I don’t remember these as a child, but these days you can easily find a toy that’ll be multi-lingual.

Benefits of being bilingual

It is wildly thought that being bilingual can give you better job prospects. Here at Lingua Translations we completely agree with this. It’s great to be a lawyer, but imagine being a lawyer that also speaks German? Think of the career possibilities if you can add a language onto your passion! Many articles these days are also showing bilingualism can help protect you against dementia as it gives you a cognitive boost.

We think that getting children interested in languages early in their life is a fantastic idea! Who knows, maybe in 10 years it’ll be normal for infants to know more than 1 language, but for now it’s pretty special!

Is there life on Mars?

Life on Mars?

For those who haven’t been watching the news lately, Elon Musk and Space X sent up a rocket to orbit Mars! Read on

There have been rocket launches at the space centre for decades, but in my lifetime, it’s been trips to the ISS or sending up satellites. This launch was different. This launch took a Tesla car up with it! The car is playing David Bowie’s Life on Mars on repeat, with a mannequin in the driving seat. They wanted to test a new kind of rocket, that could eventually take heavier loads into space.
The experiment here was to send a rocket up into space, while creating booster rockets that you could re-use. In previous launches the booster rockets would go up, detach and be left in space. Space X have been able to successfully send their boosters up with the rocket and to safely land back on earth. Not just the re-usable aspect of the launch, but also the affordability of space travel was on the cards. Due to the recovery and re-usable launchers, space travel could be something that some of us might be able to experience in our lifetime.

Could this mean a new space race??

Gone are the days where America and Russia were trying to be the first country to get into space, and to land on the moon. That was something the older generation could enjoy first hand. But could Space X inspire other countries to attempt something magical again? There are 6 ‘space agencies’ across the world, from NASA (USA), to ISRO (India), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), CNSA (China) and RFSA (Russia). Any of them can now use this launch to inspire them to make better, reusable rockets and create a bit of friendly competition!

Elon Musk isn’t the only entrepreneur out there looking to space for adventure. Virgin’s Richard Branson has his company Virgin Galactic, which he is hoping can send people into space. Branson hasn’t had the success of Musk, but that will only inspire him further to get his rockets into space.


Here at Lingua Translations, we love the idea of people reaching for the stars to create something amazing. We also approve of the song choice to go with it ?. The hope now is this inspires people across the world to think bigger and reach for the stars. Maybe one day we’ll know for sure if there is indeed life on mars, but for now, if there is anyone out there, they would be more familiar with the English language if they pass a red Tesla Roadstar on the way.

Wake up speaking a foreign language

Wake up speaking a foreign language

Have you ever dreamed of speaking a foreign language fluently? What if after a head trauma or a coma you woke up and were able to speak a foreign language fluently? This might sound very bizarre, but it has actually happened to some people.

Here are some examples of people who woke up from a come speaking a foreign language:

  • Rueben Nsemoh, a 16-year-old teenager from Atlanta, woke up from a coma speaking fluent Spanish (a language he only had a basic understanding of before).
  • Michael Boatwright woke up in a hotel room in Palm Springs, California, speaking only Swedish. He didn’t know who he was and kept calling himself Johan Ek. Even though he had lived in Japan and China, he spoke only Swedish.
  • Dujomir Marasovic mysteriously fell into a 24-hour coma in her native Croatia. She woke up speaking fluent German, a language she had studied at school when she was 13. She was unable to communicate in Croatian.
  • Australian Ben McMahon ended up in a coma after suffering a serious car accident. When he woke up, he was speaking Mandarin and had to relearn English.
  • Alun Morgan was evacuated to Wales during WWII. He spent 10 years in Wales but never learned Welsh. He suffered a stroke that made him go into a coma. Three weeks later, he came out of the coma speaking Welsh and unable to speak English.
  • 18-year-old Czech Metej Kus suffered a crash that led him into a coma. After a brief time, he woke up speaking perfect English in a British accent.

Pyeong Chang 2018 – North and South unite

PyeongChang Olympics 2018 – North and South unite

Something rather unexpected has happened at these Olympic games already! North and South Korea have joined together to play the games together. Most people have been looking at the political side of this allegiance and how it could maybe bring together the two nations.

The telegraph however has looked at the linguistic side of it all, and this has intrigued me! I guess as an English-speaking country, I know that American English is slightly different, as is Australian English – but we hear these variants daily, so we are all acclimatised to our different versions of the language and have watched them develop over decades, if not centuries.

The Korean language however has been tied off for decades. Little information is passed from North to South and vice versa. So, over the decades, terminology has changed in both nations, without the other nation knowing what the other side is using. This has become apparent with the ice hockey team. Northern athletes joined their southern teammates for the first time on Sunday. Accents were also an issue as they weren’t used to hearing Korean in a different accent. It would be like Liverpool cutting itself off from the world for a decade – then emerging. We’d have no clue what they were saying after just a decade!

Here’s what makes it worse:

North Korea has been cut off from the rest of the world. Where South Korea has embraced the world, and will sometimes use English words for sporting terms, North Korea doesn’t really know much of English at all. North Korea have their own Korean teams for certain terminology and manoeuvres, whereas South Korea have used foreign terms. Better still the ice hockey coach is from Canada! Luckily, she has been given a translator and lists of North and South terminology. This list has also been passed out to the players so they can try to understand each other better.

So, there you have it, even if you speak the same language, a language barrier could arise. Here’s hoping both sides will be able to embrace the other’s accent and phrases and show that even with this barrier, they can successfully work together as a team!

Learning a language to go on holiday. Would you?

Learning a language to go on holiday. Would you?


Last night I was watching an old re-run of 8 out of 10 cats from 2009, when the contestants were asked this question. True or false: Do Brits think there is any point in learning a language before going on holiday?


I must admit, I wasn’t sure whether it was true or false. Out of our European partners, us Brits don’t tend to learn languages. If you have a Brit who is bilingual or dare I say it, trilingual – that’s quite special. Whereas you look at the Dutch, and that’s normal for someone to know 3 languages fluently. Look at our holiday brochures – most places will have a British flag nearby, so you know that you’ll be able to happily speak English. But in a warmer climate!

We tend to go for the comfortable, easy option when going on holiday. If going on holiday with children, we’d tend to go to a resort where there’s a children’s club – where everyone speaks English. We want to get away from the boring, cold weather of Britain, but not to explore and enjoy the foreign culture of the country. Unless we are supervised by an English-speaking tour guide!

language 800 × 598I know in W.H. Smith, at any airport you will find books with travel lingo for various languages, but who buys them? Sometimes us Brits think if we know our please and thank you, that will be enough to get us through a holiday. Times have changed now. With Brexit hitting the headlines on a weekly basis, we are now realising the importance of trying to learn a language if going to another country.

So, did we think there was any point?

I was taken by surprise that 9 years ago, Brits overwhelming decided there was a point to learning a language before going on holiday. The figure I believe was 82% of those polled! I remember studying for my A levels the year before and in my school at least, languages were not important to students. I was pleasantly surprised and happy that 9 years ago we recognised the importance of language when going abroad.


Now, it’s all well and good knowing us Brits see the importance of languages when visiting another country, do we actually learn anything? Do most of us say we will, then forget, then buy that book of helpful lingo at the airport, and try and cram as much in while on the flight over? These days, information is so easy to get our hands on. Instead of buying a travel lingo book, we could use WIFI or data and search the internet for key phrases. We could try and use accessible machine translation if stuck in a pickle at the hotel (like google translate). Some smart phones probably have apps where you can have phrases translated.


And for us few who try and learn some key phrases to get us through a holiday – from general restaurant language, to asking for directions. Do we continue to learn? Say we had a family holiday to Spain 2 years ago, chances are we would revisit Spain again this year or maybe next year? Would we try and remember what we learnt 2 years ago and build on that. Maybe we could have a conversation with a local instead of pointing at a map to them? Might be something to consider.

Wouldn’t it be great to not look like a tourist while on holiday?

To find out the history of the place you’re visiting, rather than their nearest beach. Europe is full of exciting and historical places! We only need to explore them!

Raining cats and dogs

Raining Cats and Dogs


raining cats and dogs 181 × 174You might’ve seen my earlier blog about our fixations with weather. This got me thinking – are we the only nation? But more importantly, do other nations have some random way of saying its raining quite heavily out there. I’ve checked- Britain is not the only country to get heavy downpours – just a shame most of ours happen in summer.


So, here’s what I found!


Cats and Dogs is a very English way of saying its raining. Obviously, you could technically say raining cats and dogs in any language- but would people understand what you are trying to say? Here’s how some of the rest of the world would say it:


The Catalans have gone with something just a weird, but without the animal cruelty: Està plovent a bots i barrals (barrels and casks)


The French have a few variations with what they would say: Il pleut des grenouilles / à seaux / comme vache qui pisse – meaning raining frogs (bit of a stereotype there!), buckets and a random one, like a pissing cow……  Never to be outdone by the English clearly!


The Greeks went with the simple Βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα (Brékhei kareklopódara) – It’s raining chair legs. Just as bizarre as the pets… but where is the rest of the chair?


Iceland go with the more apocalyptic version of Það rignir eld og brennustein – raining fire and brimstone. Think I’d prefer cats falling on me than brimstone!


Korea seems to be one of the more sensible countries when describing very bad rain: 비가 억수같이 쏟아진다 – Rain is pouring down like a torrential downpour. Hitting the nail on the head there! No confusion!


Not sure how often the Spaniards would use this version but I found it interesting enough. Estan lloviendo hasta maridos It’s even raining husbands. When the rain is that bad, it brings husbands with it!


I’m Welsh second language – but when speaking about weather down south, I’ve never heard these versions, but they made me chuckle! Maybe I was hanging out with the wrong people! Mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn / cyllyll a ffyrc – Also known as It’s raining old ladies and sticks / knives and forks


And the nominations are out!

And the nominations are out!


The Oscar nominations have been announced, and this year the five films going for Best Foreign Film are:

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

The Insult (Lebanon)

Loveless (Russia)

On Body and Soul (Hungary)

The Square (Sweden).


The Oscars 300 × 168Every year films from across the world are invited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to submit an entry for the Best Foreign Film award. This year 92 countries submitted a film for judging, with 6 of these countries submitting for the first time. At the end of 2017 the 92 films were shortlisted into 9, and now the official nominations have been released.

Best Foreign Film might not be the most popular of the awards on the night. It’s no Best Actress or Best Picture for example, but this award allows the spotlight to shine on language and on various cultures you wouldn’t necessarily find in blockbusters. This allows directors, actresses and actors to shine.


The films that have been nominated for the Oscar are already quite known in foreign film circles. The Square won the Palme d’Or, and Loveless won at the London Film Festival, but being nominated for an Oscar means a lot more. This will allow more people to hear about the films, and the crew behind them.

Since the creation of ‘Best Foreign Film’, Italy has won the award more than any other country, with 14 wins, followed by France with 12 then Spain with 4. Normally the award goes to European films – Out of 68 awards since 1947, 56 have gone to Europe, 6 to Asia, 3 to Africa and 3 to the Americas.


The greats of Foreign Film


Many films have experienced success from the Oscars, though with some the success merely increased. Some great foreign films have won outside of ‘Best Foreign Film’, such as La Dolce Vita (1961 – Best Costume Design), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000- Art Direction, Cinematography and Music), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006 – Art Direction, Cinematography, Make up), La Vie en Rose (2007 – Actress in a Leading Role, Make up) to name a few.


Hopefully this year, the winner and the nominated will experience such success from being a part of the Oscars. This award can introduce more people around the world to Foreign Language Cinema.

We at Lingua Translations wish all the nominated films the best of success!



Our fixation with weather

Our fixation with weather

Us Brits know that when a conversation goes dry, the antidote is to start talking about the weather. Whether we love it hate it,  we’ll constantly comment on it! We love to use weather in everyday conversations even when we’re not actually talking about weather. There are so many weather related idioms we use on a daily basis- some of which might actually surprise you!

Everyday weather idioms we use for example:

Be snowed under: Normally linked to a very busy day, potentially an overwhelming day in work

Break the ice: Icebreakers are known in social settings to make some feel more at ease. Could be a drink, fun quiz… anything to well ‘break the ice’!

Calm before the storm: Normally what parents would link to the last few hours of freedom before school breaks up for half term, or dare I say it… Summer!

Every cloud has a silver lining: looking on the bright side of life, when something pleasant comes from a difficult situation

Get wind of: Office gossip! When you hear something that maybe should’ve been kept secret

Have your head in the clouds: Being out of touch with reality – expecting everything to happen without thinking of the process behind it all

On cloud nine: The feeling of being extremely happy, like me at a cake shop! Bliss!

Put on ice: Something we all hear a lot in work, when a project is side-lined for a bit.

Steal my thunder: When taking attention from someone else – as seen in the Friends episode ‘The one with Monica’s Thunder’

Storm in a teacup: nothing is more British than adding weather and tea into a sentence! Means making a small problem bigger than it was.

Under the weather: When you’re unwell you’d say you were under the weather. At this time of year, you’ll hear this idiom a lot!

Our favourite type of weather to comment on: rain!

Come rain or shine: You can depend on someone to help you, whatever the circumstance… or more than likely, the weather

It never rains but it pours: when a bad day becomes an awful day, in a very bad week. Bit like Welsh weather… never expect a little rain – expect a monsoon!

It’s raining cats and dogs: This is potentially the most popular and weirdest weather-related idiom we use. When has anyone, ever seen it rain cats and dogs? Quite literally means the rain is really bad out there, but to emphasise that this isn’t everyday rain, we’ve thrown in some pets for good measure!

Take a rain check: A nice way of telling someone you don’t want to deal with this now, but maybe later. Though, living in Wales, it could just be, not sure if that 10k hike is a good idea on Saturday, I’ll more than likely be raining cats and dogs.

Looking through this list, I tend to use some of these a lot!

There are obviously a lot more lurking around in our everyday vocabulary, these are just a few that I could think of! It’s impressive to see how often we tend to use weather  in daily conversation!

Winnie The Pooh

Today is Winnie the Pooh day: one of the most successful characters ever created. The author AA Milne was born on this day in 1882 and for almost a century has been entertaining children with his stories of Winnie, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore and of course Christopher Robin.

Winnie the Pooh was based on AA Milne’s child and his stuffed toys. From there AA Milne’s creations have enjoyed decades of being loved and adored by children and even adults. The first collection of stories about Winnie the Pooh were published in 1926, and the brand grew from there.

Winnie the Pooh has been a global success, translated into many languages including Latin. The only Latin book and the first foreign language book to ever feature of the New York Times Best Seller List was Winnie. Winnie the Pooh has been translated into German, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese Italian, Polish and even Scots (to name a few). In total Winnie the Pooh has been translated into over 50 different languages, making it one of the largest reaching franchises ever.

Disney’s takeover

In 1961, Winnie the Pooh joined the Disney team and became a massive franchise. By 1966, Disney were ready to release numerous animated productions and create a global superstar in Children’s entertainment. Winnie and friends have gone from strength to strength with various TV shows, films and adaptations made. They are some of Disney’s most recognisable characters after Mickey and Minnie Mouse of course. Since there have been many films based around the characters, including Heffalump.

The Legacy of Winnie the Pooh

winnie the pooh 1024 × 768The Hollywood Walk of Fame has a whole host of celebrity names. From the biggest artists in the world to the greatest actors. It also includes only 16 fictional characters. Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog, Bugs Bunny are some who were awarded a star. In 2006, Winnie was finally honoured with his own star on the walk of fame. The only even bear to be honoured!

Children across the world will continue to read the stories of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin in One Hundred Acre Wood. They fall in love with the characters, just like their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did as children. This is the legacy of Winnie. AA Milne’s characters will continue to entertain children across the world for many more generations to come.

‘You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.’


The Transfer Window

Whether you watch football or not, we all know about the transfer window in the winter and the summer. Some of the transfers make the headlines! But what about the language behind these transfer deals?

Not every footballer in the world knows English, or Spanish for example. So, when teams like Barcelona or Manchester City tempt the world’s best to join their club, they might face a barrier – a language barrier. When Gareth Bale joined Real Madrid a few years ago, he did not know Spanish – but he had to learn quickly. When Roque Mesa joined Swansea, he did not know English… you see the trend here! But before these players signed their contracts with foreign clubs there is a lot of translation and interpretation that takes place.

Translating the deal

Documents such as medical reports and club notes need to be translated before anything is signed. Medical and training sessions need an interpreter present so information between the player and the club can be relayed. And then we get down to the nitty-gritty of the contract itself! You might have an agent who can fluently speak both languages, but that doesn’t mean a professional interpreter will not be hired by the club to ensure everyone agrees.


Even after the documents are signed and the photos with your new kit are published – you’ll still need language assistance. Nobody picks a language up overnight. Some players might be lucky that their manager or one of the players are able to speak their language, but that doesn’t mean they will sit you down after every meeting and training session and explain to you what happened. We know all too well of players struggling with language barriers. Take Michael Owen for example. He tried his best to learn Spanish as quickly as possible, but admitted that his language problems caused issues with his career at Real Madrid. It doesn’t matter how great a player you were in your old team. To be great at your new club, in your new team, you need to be able to communicate

This is where interpreters are needed again. For interviews with the press, many players struggling with a language barrier will call upon a trusted interpreter. Back when foreign players were a novelty, clubs would sign their players up for language lessons immediately. These days where most of your team are foreign, clubs no longer see language classes as a necessity. If they can understand certain commands and shouts, then that’s all that matters to some of them.

But what if it’s the manager who doesn’t speak the language?

This happened to Southampton some years ago when they appointed Argentine Mauricio Pochettino. As the manager, he needed to be able to communicate with his team and the staff. When he started at Southampton he had an interpreter present for everything. His press interviews, team talks, training sessions… the lot! His answer to those who doubted a foreign speaking manager at a club was ‘Football is an international language’. He had to learn the language – and how he’s enjoying a great career as a manager in England.

These days we are hearing about a decline in languages. Students in schools are not picking languages for their GCSE’s or A Levels. Maybe because they don’t know what doors could open for them! Well here’s one door that could: Interpreting for a World-renowned club trying to bag a world class player! And it’s not just in football – many sports around the world search the globe for the greatest players they can get their hands on. And you could be a part of that!

So, fancy a career in Football but have two left feet? Become an interpreter!




PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018

PyeongChang Winter Olympics

PyeongChang-300x150The winter Olympics are just under a month away! On the 9th Feb the world will look to South Korea for the opening ceremony and the sports that will follow. A total of 89 teams (88 countries and the neutral IOC flag team) have qualified with at least 1 athlete through to the Winter Games. There are some usual countries participating, but also some making their debut. Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia and Singapore are attending their first Winter Olympics this year. We all love an underdog so I’m sure the crowds will really support these countries on their first winter games.

The sports of the Winter Olympics

There are 15 sports in the Winter Olympics:

Alpine Skiing



Cross Country Skiing


Figure Skating

Freestyle Skiing

Ice Hockey


Nordic Combined

Short Track Speed Skating


Ski Jumping


Speed Skating

Within these sports there are 102 events where athletes will have a chance to win gold. There are 6 new events in these games, including mixed doubles curling, Womens big air snowboarding and team alpine event.



What countries should we look out for?


If we look at the Sochi 2014, Russia came out on top with 33 medals (13 gold), followed by Norway with 26 medals (11 gold) then Canada with 10 gold. Although the United States had 28 medals, only 9 of them were Gold, leaving them in 4th place. Due to some doping scandals the medal table has since changed. Norway topped the medal table, and we can expect them to be fighting to be at the top in this year’s Olympics. This time Russia are not participating in the Olympics, but their athletes and participate under a neutral flag. We can expect North America (USA and Canada) along with the Northern European and Scandinavian countries to do well this year.  China finished the 2014 Olympics with 9 medals (3 gold). This year they are going to try and get into the top 10 on the medal table.

Now us Brits, we’ve never been great at Winter Olympics. Although we do have winters here, we don’t get the snow like the Northern Countries, so getting kids out to snowboard and ski means taken them on holiday, or finding an artificial snowboarding site to practice on. Last time we finished with 4 medals, 1 gold. Fingers crossed this time we can leap further up the medals table!




The origin of the sound /θ/ in Spanish


If you study Spanish long enough, you will soon realise that the pronunciation of Z and C (before e and i) is not the same in all Spanish dialects. Z and C (before e and i) are pronounced something like the English “th” in most dialects of European Spanish.

In Spanish dialectology, the terms distinción, seseo, and ceceo are used to describe the opposition between dialects that distinguish the phonemes /θ/ and /s/ (distinción). And those that exhibit merger of the two sounds (neutralización) into either /s/ (seseo) or /θ/ (ceceo).

Some dialects of Spanish distinguish the two sounds. Therefore, some pronounce words like casa and caza differently. Seseo is typical of the American, Canarian and most dialects of Andalusia, whereas distinción is typical of most dialects in Spain.

Legend has it the phenomenon of distinción can be traced back to a Spanish king who spoke with a lisp. But this is just a legend. By the 15th century, the Spanish language had developed a large number of sibilant phonemes. During the 16th and early 17th centuries these phonemes merged differently in different areas of the country. They evolved into those of the different modern dialects.

Medieval Spanish had four sounds that were so close to one another. People used to get confused quite often, so eventually these sounds were simplified. The northern part of Spain reduced the system to two sounds: “s” and “th”. While most of the south of Spain reduced all four sounds to just “s”. When Christopher Columbus departed to South America, most of his crew were from Southern Spain, therefore, they pronounced Z as S.

What are your New Year resolutions?

It’s something that most people make on New Year’s Eve/ New Year’s Day. Resolutions range from going to the gym, cutting out alcohol, stopping smoking, travelling more, finding love, and even learning a language. Now, most of us will break our new Year’s resolutions within a few weeks. I did last a solid 8 months on a resolution I made in the past! We’ll enjoy a sober 3 weeks then wish we hadn’t given away all our bottles of wine! Or excitedly bought a month’s pass for the local gym and realise you’ve only gone twice that whole month.

But, what about learning something new?

According to a recent survey, one in five Britons hope to learn a language as part of their New Year’s resolutions. The survey was conducted for the British Council by Populus and found that Spanish was the most popular language to learn. Other languages on our top 5 list included Mandarin, French, Arabic and German.

Of the adults polled:

1/3 said they could hold a basic conversation in 1 foreign language

45% were embarrassed by their inability to speak a foreign language

64% always wanted to speak a foreign language fluently

56% regret not trying earlier to learn a foreign language

58% agreed it is important now more than ever for the British to learn another language.

Brexit as the reason?

This is more than likely the reason why people are now so eager to learn a foreign language. Post-Brexit, knowing another language could be a great asset in business. Not everyone speaks English, so knowing Spanish, or Mandarin (2 of the world’s biggest languages) would be the key to success.

It is all well that adults are seeing the need to learn another language, but this is not filtering down to the younger generation. The United Kingdom is seeing a decline in the popularity of languages in schools. Less students are choosing to continue their studies with languages. It has been 10 years since I left school and if it’s any worse than it used to be, then that’s not good news at all. My Welsh A level class had 4 students (myself included). French did a bit better with 5 students. German was not even an option for A Level at my school.

It is vital that students choose a language or languages as part of their continued studies, otherwise that adult poll of 56% regretting not learning earlier will increase! Poor language skills are costing the economy billions per year in lost export opportunities. When Brexit happens, this is something we need to avoid. So, if you said in your New Year resolutions that you wanted to learn a language, go for it! Even if it’s just enough language to get you safely through your summer holiday. More of us need to start learning languages, in the hope that the younger generation will follow suit. And it’s never too late to start learning a language. My uncle is 70 and has started to learn Spanish, so if he can do it, what’s your excuse?

Love has no barriers – even language!

Love has no barriers – Even that pesky language barrier!


One of my favourite things to do around Christmastime is watch the classics. I’m sad to say I include Elf in my favourite films, along with Home Alone and Die Hard (ho-ho-ho). One of my yearly traditions is Love, Actually. I have watched this film every year for over a decade, but this year I enjoyed the language element of one of the ‘couples’ in the film.


For those who haven’t seen the film (might be a handful of you out there), we follow a collection of Londoners in the run up to Christmas. Characters range from newlyweds, a widower, the Prime Minister, actors in a movie, a singer and various others finding love and failing at love. Love for some of these is love of family and friends, as well as, of course, that special partner.

Jamie and Aurelia

The characters I want to talk about are Jamie and Aurelia. The language element to the film. At the start of the film Jamie’s girlfriend gets caught cheating on Jamie with his own brother. He decides to take some time away from the city and goes to France. There he is introduced to Aurelia, a Portuguese housekeeper. Jamie has a rough idea of French, but no Portuguese really. Aurelia does not speak English. During the film we watch both attempt to communicate with each other. Without each other knowing they match very well. Jamie will say something in English, Aurelia will say something similar in Portuguese. For the viewer it is great to see such a connection, and hilarious to know the other person does not understand what’s being said!

What would you do for love?

Jamie leaves to return home to family for Christmas, and Aurelia goes back to her town. We then follow just Jamie. We see him trying to learn Portuguese. He attends a London language school and is actively trying to learn phrases, even while Christmas shopping. On Christmas eve, he flies out to Aurelia and asks her father for permission to propose! Her father takes him and a crowd of people to the bar where Aurelia is a waitress, and in broken Portuguese he finally has his first proper conversation with her.

“Beautiful Aurelia, I’ve come here with a view of asking you to marriage me. I know I seems an insane person – because I hardly knows you – but sometimes things are so transparency, they don’t need evidential proof. And I will inhabit here, or you can inhabit with me in England. Of course, I don’t expecting you to be as foolish as me, and of course I prediction you say ‘no’ but it’s Christmas and I just wanted to… check.”

This is after only a few weeks of learning! It’s a very impressive attempt. Little did Jamie know, Aurelia has been learning English.

“Thank you. That will be nice. Yes is being my answer. Easy question”

Once again, not too bad! Once try finally embraced after a Romeo and Juliet style proposal from the balcony of the bar, Jamie said: “You learned English”, to her reply “Just in cases”. A quote I absolutely love to say!


So, there you have it! Language is no barrier for love! And as Jamie and Aurelia prove, you can have some grasp, albeit a grammatically incorrect and at times hilarious display of the language in weeks! If you have the determination to try that is!

Inclusive writing in France

Inclusive writing: So the debate about the French language rumbles on…


France is currently involved in a nation-wide debate about the French language which is becoming increasingly heated. Recently, there has been a call for the language to be made gender-inclusive, as opposed to being masculine dominated as it currently is.


For example, if there is a group made up of 10 girls and one boy, the group would be referred to linguistically as masculine. Many in France want to change this, at least in the written form, to be inclusive to both genders. So instead of a mixed group of actors and actresses being referred to as acteurs, it would instead be written as acteur.rice.s.

There are a couple of obvious issues with this. Firstly, how would you read it aloud? Would you just ignore it, or would you say “acteurs et actrices”? Neither option would match the new spelling. It also looks rather messy, and quite frankly, just odd (though as with most things, it would eventually feel normal).


The main disagreements are between feminist groups who see the current language as sexist and male-dominated, and the Académie française who see this potential change as a threat to the French language. They have even said that the French language is currently in “mortal danger” due to the emergence of this inclusive writing.

The French Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, has come out on the side of the purists, and has actually issued a ban on this new inclusive language in official texts. However, French President Emmanuel Macron and his ministers usually use more inclusive language, for example saying ceux et celles (“those [people]” – but both the masculine and feminine versions) when grammatically only ceux is required.


What do you think? Can a language be sexist? Or is it just a harmless grammar rule? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter at @LinguaUK!

A Few facts and figures about the Korean Language

A few facts and figures about the Korean Language

In a few months, South Korea will host the Winter Olympic games. Here at Lingua Translations, we are getting ready for the exciting games! We are going to keep everyone up to date with some interesting facts on the Games themselves, the host country and their language. Our last blog was a ‘briefing’ of who has the Olympic Games this time and a bit of history of the Winter sports. This blog – all about the host country’s language. As we know, the Olympics has always been multilingual, representing as much of the world as possible. So bring on PyeongChang!

Where is Korean spoken?

It is the official language of both Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). There is around 50 million in South Korea and 23 million in North Korea. There are also large pockets of people in China, Japan and America who are Korean and speak their language daily.


Hangul 한글

This is the script of the Korean Language. The first publication in Hangul was in the 15th Century. Before then  literary works were in classical Chinese. Hangul is written left to right. The name Hangul (Hangeul) comes from, Han (한) meant “great” in archaic Korean, and geul (글) is the native  word for “script.” Taken together, then, the meaning is “Great Script”.

Similarities to other languages?

Linguists believe the Korean language is derived from the Altaic Family. This family includes Turkish, Mongolian and Manchu (Northwest China). However, grammatically speaking, the language has similarities to Japanese. In vocab terms, there are similarities with Chinese (Mandarin). It’s not easy to pinpoint where the links are, but learning Korean could help you to start learning Japanese and Chinese.

How hard is the language to learn?

Korean is considered to be one of the most difficult languages in the world to master- especially if your mother tongue is English. The reason for this is the work order. The verb always comes last in Korean. Also, they use different verb endings and vocabulary depending on your relationship with the person.


Korean does not have any gender, number agreements or articles in their language. Something that could help an English speaker! Unlike the French language. This should make learning the language a little easier for us Brits!

Silver lining- The alphabet is easier than the Japanese or Chinese writing system. Their alphabet can be learnt fairly quickly, you just might not make too much sense though!

Star Wars and Language

Star Wars and language


With the next instalment of the Star Wars is soon to come to cinemas, and we here at Lingua Translations are very excited to see The Last Jedi!


Star Wars has been on our screens for decades. Episode IV – A New hope was released in 1977! Since then the trilogy (Episodes 4-6) inspired a generation. That generation had to wait a further 2 decades for the prequel trilogy (1-3) which showed Luke’s father and how he became Darth Vader. At this point a new generation of viewers enjoyed the fantasy world of Star Wars. In 2012, Disney confirmed it had purchased the rights to make further films for the franchise. Episode 7 (The Force Awakens) came out in 2015, followed quickly by ‘Rogue One’ (not part of the trilogies), and now Episode 8: The Last Jedi is next.


Star Wars has been a worldwide phenomenon. Go anywhere in the world and they will know Darth Vader, or Luke Skywalker. Star Wars has been translated/ dubbed into 50 languages. Harry Potter books have been translated in 68 languages, so there will still a while to go before they win the translation race! The latest language Star Wars has been translated into is Navajo, keeping the language alive for their children by promoting it through the franchise.


Languages in Star Wars

It would’ve been highly unrealistic to believe that ever character in Star Wars spoke English – considering they are from all over the Galaxy! Chewbacca for example speaks Shyriiwook. Chewy doesn’t speak but understands English (Galactic Basic), and is normally understood by Hans Solo. R2-D2 speaks ‘Droitspeak’ along with the modern-day bot of BB-8. Some of the better-known languages in Star Wars include Ewokese, Huttese, Jawaese and Ubese.

For those who love Star Wars are surely aware there are so many different forms of communication known in the franchise. C-3PO has the ability to understand more than 6 million forms of communication! When meeting the Ewoks, they thought he was a God. C-3PO then needed to try and persuade the Ewoks not to kill Hans Solo and the gang.

C-3PO isn’t the only linguist lurking around too. Earlier I wrote that Hans Solo can understand and interpret Chewbacca in his Shyrillwook dialect. In episode 4, he was also able to understand Greedo who speaks an ‘unspecified alien language’. Clearly travelling around the galaxy has allowed him to learn and understand many dialects!


Keen linguists might notice that Star Wars languages lack the detail and technique of other fantasy languages such as Klingon (Star Trek) and Elvish (Lord of the Rings). With Elvish and Klingon grammatical rules and vocabularies have been worked out, so you can hear the occasional fan speak a few phrases. But there is a guide to help you along the galaxy. The Galactic Phrase Book and Travel Guide has been put together by data from the books and films to try and give a guide of phrases, vocabulary and rules.


A little off topic, but something I do think is amazing….

Star Wars and religion

Star Wars is not just a film for some people, but a way of life. In the 2001 census, over 390,000 UK respondents entered their religion as Jedi! In New Zealand and Australia, they too saw a surge of Jedi in their censuses. This is the effect of Star Wars! The Jedi code has been modified for us earthlings to follow. It is a concept that the Force is an energy field, for all living things that binds the galaxy together. The modifications left out the fictional element of telekinesis.

Friends: The one with the quotes: part 2

Friends: The one with the quotes: part 2

Monkey turns the TV Spanish

Season 1 brought us a few elements of language. One of the funniest came from Marcel the monkey. In ‘The one with the two parts: part 1’ Marcel is let loose in Monica’s apartment and when he gets hold of the remote, he manages to change the language of the TV to Spanish. Much to the annoyance of Monica and the gang. They struggle to figure out how to change it back so a lot of the TV time in the episode is in Spanish.

“Oh, cool. “Urkel” in Spanish is “Urkel”

At the end of ‘The one with the two parts: part 2’, the group have fun with the Marcel remote and in the closing credits, they all speak in Spanish.


Ross: Aqui está. (Here it is!)

Monica: ¿A quién pidio el pollo General Tso? (Who ordered General Sal’s chicken?)

Chandler: ¡Pudo aver sido General Tso! (It could’ve been General Sal!)

(Rachel points out of the window.)


Rachel: ¡Mira, mira, el viejo desnudo está haciendo el hula hoop! (Look, look, Ugly Naked Guy is doing the hula!)

(The others rush to the window for a look.)

All: ¡Ewww! (Ewww!)

(Joey enters, happy again.)

All: ¡Hola, Joey! (Hi, Joey!)

Joey: ¡Hola, amigos! (Hey, everybody!)

(Marcel grabs the remote.)

Monica: Mira, Ross, Marcel se llevo el control remoto. (Look, Ross, Marcel’s got the remote.)

Ross: ¡Lo que sucedio es que no le gusta la tele! (The thing is, he doesn`t like the program!)


What a fantastic way to finish the episode! Obviously in the Spanish version, it would be silly to change the TV language to Spanish, so the writers changed the language to Portuguese.


The One With the Baby Shower

Rachel once again comes in with some foreign language, courtesy of her nanny:

“Sandra Green: Rachel, you must get a nanny. You don’t know how overwhelming this is gonna be. I mean, when you were a baby I had full-time help, I had Mrs. K.

Rachel Green: Mrs. K, oh, she was sweet. She taught me Spanish. Actually I think I remember some of it, “tu madre es loca”

[your mother is crazy]

Sandra Green: Such a sweet woman.”

When Rachel says “Tu madre es loca”, the audience erupts in laughter, as they obviously understand what she said, but it doesn’t look like Rachel or her mother understand what the phrase meant.

We’ve done some digging and found the Spanish friends episode and around minute 6, we found this quote. However, the nanny is Portuguese. This doesn’t really make sense as in Portuguese as ‘loca’ in Spanish is ‘loca’ in Portuguese. Surely, Spanish Rachel and mum would understand what that meant. Ideally the nanny should’ve been Italian or English to reflect the original version of confusion! But we know the Spanish version tends to change use the Portuguese language when it need to amend things from the original, for example when Marcel changed the language of the TV.


The one with the Stain

Ross speaking Dutch! Or more precisely the one where he learns Dutch and gets out-schooled by Gunther. Someone in Ross’ building has died and Ross thinks it would be a great idea for Rachel to move in. When they go and visit her flat, the daughter is there and said she’s still hanging on. Ross pretends to have been a good friend of her mothers. He then gets this reply: You speak Dutch? Zeer vereerd een vriend van mijn moeder te ontmoeten. (Translation: I’m very honoured to meet a friend of my mother.) Ross says it’s too painful to reply in Dutch, so instead tries to learn it in order to make friends with the daughter to give them a chance of getting the flat.

In the coffee shop Ross starts learning Dutch and says to Gunther:  Thanks for the coffee, or bedankt voor de koffie, Gunter. Gunther then replies: Jij spreekt Nederlands? Dat is te gek. Heb je familie daar? Translation: You speak Dutch That’s cool. Do you have relatives there? Gunther then calls him an ‘ezel’ which means donkey. Ross looks up the word ‘ezel’ in the dictionary and says to Gunther “You’re an ‘ezel!'”. Gunther easily overrules Ross by saying “Jij hebt seks met ezels” (literally: “You have sex with donkeys”), leaving Ross baffled, not knowing what the sentence meant.


Over these two blogs I might’ve missed a few times where language was a part of Friends, but hey… there are 236 episodes… think I got a decent few there!

Hope you enjoyed reading these blogs as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Missed part 1?



The Winter Olympics – PyeongChang 2018

The Winter Olympics – 2018


If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re big sports fans as well as language geeks! You might ask what Sport and Language have in common…. The answer is a lot! Sport is a way to bring people together, from all nationalities, all languages. Sporting events like the Olympics opens up that country, culture and language to the world. Next year’s Winter Olympics is less than 3 months away.

PyeongChang 2018 –       평창 동계 올림픽

The host city for the Winter Olympics is Pyeongchang, South Korea. The Olympics start with an opening ceremony on the 9th and finish on the 25th. This means we have 14 glorious days to watch some of the world’s best sportsmen and women compete in the winter games. There are estimated to be around 90 countries participating in these winter games.




Alpensia Sports Park – will be the focus of the games. The park includes the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, the ski jumping centre, Biathlon, Cross country centre, Sliding centre for luge, bobsleigh and skeleton. Also the Alpine Centre is at the park

Gangneung Olympic Park – Ice Hockey, Curling Centre and an Ice arena for speed skating and figure skating.


Stand-alone venues – Bokwang Snow Park for freestyle skiing and snowboarding, Jeongseon Alpine Centre for downhill and super-G skiing and the Kwandong Hockey Centre for the womens ice hockey.


The countries 

Of course, there are the usual candidates of Canada, USA, Norway, UK, Sweden, Iceland – the areas of the world where it can get rather cold! It is still unknown whether Russia will compete in the games. But this year there’s an unusual team in the bobsleigh…. Nigeria. An area of the world where Winter doesn’t exactly happen! This is going to be amazing to watch. Does it remind you of a film though? The answer is YES! Cool Runnings was its name and was a true story about the Jamaican bobsleigh team in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. It will be fantastic to see the Nigerian bobsleigh team do well in the Winter games!

Ecuador, Eritea, Kosovo, Malaysia and Singapore are scheduled to make their Winter Olympics debut in PyeongChang.


What does this mean for South Korea?

Thousands of athletes will compete at these games, tens if not hundreds of thousands will visit the country to watch and experience the games. Millions will watch from home. This is South Korea’s opportunity to show off their country, culture and language to the world.


In the next few weeks and months we will look into the Olympics in more detail!

Friends: The one with the quotes: part 1

The one with the quotes: part 1

Here at Lingua we are big fans of Friends… Normally trying to figure out a way to include a Friends reference into as many blogs as possible. So, we figured, why not have a Friends blog? Friends began in 1994 and was on our screens for 10 years. During the 10 years and 236 we have learnt a lot from Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey. The last episode of Friends was watched by 52.5 million viewers! Friends changed many people’s lives.

The languages of Friends –

The show has been dubbed into many languages such as French, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese. Allowing people from across the world to enjoy the programme. But it’s not just for enjoyment that people have watched Friends. It’s also for learning. Many people use Friends to learn English.

In fact, that’s how Raquel in the office perfected her English, by knowing the Spanish version so well, she started watching the episodes in English – with Spanish subtitles, then English Subtitles then no subtitles. She isn’t the only person I know who has done this. During my Erasmus year in France, I met someone from Estonia who learnt English from Friends. Let’s not forget that fictional characters have also learnt through Friends. In a previous blog I wrote about the film The Terminal where the main character learnt English by reading a book on Friends from the departure lounge bookshop.

Outside of the series being dubbed into foreign languages, there are even languages inside the show. Remember when Marcel changed the TV into Spanish for example, or Joey learning French, Paolo, Rachels Italian boyfriend or Phoebe’s foreign date!

Here’s a few that I can remember!


Paolo – The one with the blackout

Rachel meets Paolo in a blackout in season 1 – she finds his cat and goes around the building trying to find the owner… Then runs into Paolo in the hallway. Rachel doesn’t speak Italian, and Paolo barely speaks English, but they hit it off and are a couple for a little while in the show. Ross tries to explain to Paolo that Rachel is very dear to him, and he seems to understand a bit of what Ross is saying, but not enough to stay away from Rachel.

In the Italian version of the show, they couldn’t have an Italian Paolo as the communication barrier wouldn’t be there. So they made him Spanish. He became Pablo from Spain. Wonder what they made of Rachels ‘Italian’ shoes Pablo bought her!


Joey and his Italian heritage

Remember that Joey Tribbiani has Italian heritage, theres the episode where his grandmother visits and speaks Italian where is says “Si Nonni, Iuo Numero Uno, no?”. Joey knows a few swear words, one of which he uses on Chandler when his Ex starts dating him. He teaches this word to Rachel who uses it on Ross. Va’ fa Napoli! Which means Go to Naples. But based on what I can remember from the 10 seasons, Joey doesn’t show his ability to speak Italian. Not properly at least! He never spoke to Paolo from season 1 and 2. Our Friends Linguist Phoebe however, was able to speak to his grandmother with a great command of Italian. So not just great at French eh!


“The One where Joey Speaks French”

Joey tends to put a lot on his CV that he cannot do. French is one of them. When he has an audition for a French part, Phoebe comes to the rescue to help him though his script. The first like ‘Je M’appelle Claude’ is as far as Phoebe can take him!

A few of his attempts: Je de plee bloo, Je te flouppe Fli… You can understand why Phoebe who has a great grasp of French is very annoyed with him!

Phoebe realises that maybe she was a bit tough on him, so goes back to help him one more time… but he hasn’t improved at all! She follows him to his audition, and then helps him out when the Director sees he has no clue what he’s talking about. Phoebe tells the Director that he’s her little brother, who is slightly mentally disabled and for him to play along to make Joey feel better.

Numbers: Even if you don’t speak French, most people know 1 to 5 – Un, Deux, Trois, Quarte, Cinq. Joey’s attempt ‘Eh, Blue, Blah, Floo, Flank’

« Ecoutez, je vais vous dire la vérité. C’est mon petit frère. Il est un peu retardé, alors si vous pouviez jouer le jeu avec lui. »

As I said previously, Friends has been dubbed into French, so how can he then learn French? Well, he learns Spanish badly instead! The name of this episode is Celui qui baragouinait (The One who was Jabbering). Maybe I should watch the French episode, as Joey trying Spanish one sounds just as funny as Joey trying French! Would’ve been very awkward for the French version to have Joey learning French right!

Foreign accent syndrome | Lingua Translations

Foreign accent syndrome

Can you imagine sounding like a foreigner speaking your own native language? Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is speech disorder that causes a sudden change to speech so that a native speaker is perceived to speak with a “foreign” accent. Researchers believe it isn’t really the development of a new accent at all but a sign of damage to the area of the brain that controls the motor functions of speech, as it usually develops after neurological damage and a person’s speech, specifically it’s rhythm and tone, is affected.

It is usually the result of damage to the brain caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Patients still use the words of their native language and their choice of words are mainly unaffected. However, the intonation and timing of the speech output is altered, as is their tongue placement, which makes the speaker sound like a foreigner to someone who is from their same region.

It is a rare condition first documented in 1907. About 100 cases have been documented in the last century, including accent changes from:

  • British English to French or Chinese
  • American English to British English
  • Spanish to Hungarian
  • Japanese to Korean

There are different types of FAS. As it has been mentioned before, one cause can be a head injury, however, it can be Psychogenic. In this case, FAS is psychologically induced, and it is associated with a psychiatric disorder or psychiatric traits.


Thanksgiving Day 2017

Thanksgiving 2017


A bit of a history:


Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, giving thanks for the harvest. Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November, which is the 23rd November this year. Canada also have a similar holiday but theirs in the second Monday in October. Thanksgiving has historical roots in cultural and religious traditions. This day marks the start of the holiday season in America.

Since the 19th Century, thanksgiving was observed on the final Thursday of November, however not all states observed it. It wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln called for the day to be celebrated everywhere in 1863 that it became a national event, rather than various states. Due to the Civil War between the North and South, it wasn’t officially recognised across all of America until the 1870s. In 1940 Franklin D Roosevelt decided to change the date from the last Thursday of November to the fourth Thursday of November, in the hope to boost the economy.

Although Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season, some do think it is as important as Christmas. It’s not just a warm up for the main event. Turkey is also a major part of thanksgiving, traditionally it is normally the meat of choice for your meal. It is estimated that 50 million turkeys each year are used in thanksgiving meals across the country. Each year the President pardons a turkey, sparing them from the oven. This has happened since 1987 with all presidents participating in pardoning 1 turkey a year.



A stressful holiday


I’ve never participated in Thanksgiving, but every single US TV show portrays a Thanksgiving Day and meal. Oh, my days it looks stressful! To a Brit, it looks a lot like our Christmas Day dinner. There’s a massive turkey and a whole host of vegetables, herb dishes and desserts (albeit their desserts are normally pumpkin related as it’s for the harvest celebration). It is estimate that the average American will consume 3500 calories on Thanksgiving! After watching 10 years of Thanksgiving meals in Friends, I can agree that sounds correct! I’m not sure whether the TV shows are accurate or not, but it looks like people try and hunt for turkeys on Thanksgiving itself! That would be like us Brits hunting on Christmas Eve! Chances are you are getting an expensive, more than likely small chicken!

Table decorations seem to be important as well. Thanksgiving is a way to get the family together so having a beautiful centrepiece is vital, and stressful.


Thanksgiving legacy


Macy’s parade – The parade started in the 1920’s and has been a tradition ever since. The parade is a huge event in New York City, complete with cheerleaders, huge balloons, marching bands and floats. The parade is normally seen on most New York based films and TV shows, notably Friends and Miracle on 34th Street.


Now this is something we are now all aware of. Black Friday. This happens the following day after Thanksgiving. In America, shoppers flock to the stores to get some heavily discounted bargains ready for the Christmas period to commence. Over here, our Christmas shopping period starts earlier, but Black Friday and the subsequent Cyber Monday have travelled over the pond to us. 5 years ago, the Black Friday discounts came over through Asda (Walmart in USA). Not long afterwards, UK retailers such as John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Debenhams joined in.

In all the carnage you see in America, we queue up for hours and fight our way through to the best bargains, even if that means buying a 40-inch TV you really didn’t need, but it was 50% off. This now means in order to make a sale during what is now Black Friday week, most stores need to be offering competitive rates on items.

There are estimated to be a few hundred thousand Americans living over here, obviously celebrating their national holiday. It’s becoming more and more popular for restaurants to offer a Thanksgiving meal, especially if the chain has roots in America. University catering all offers Thanksgiving meals as a way to help American students studying in the UK feel at home. Although its not just for Americans. Go to the Swansea Uni campus and find students from all over the world enjoying an American tradition!

False Friends | Lingua Translations

False friends

When you were studying a foreign language at school, did you ever come across a word that look very similar to one in your native language? Did you then find out that the meaning was actually quite different? These are called false friends. False friends are words in two languages that look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning. They are called false friends because they appear to be easy to gasp, learn and understand at first sight. However, for non-native speakers, the words’ formal appearance is not really indicative of their true meaning.

Difficulties of false friends

False friends can cause difficulties to interpret a text for language learners. Due to linguistic interference, students tend to identify words wrongly. This phenomenon is generally understood as an interlingual development affecting different languages but intralingual false friends do exist as well. Thus, this is not only an issue for foreign language students. It can also pose a problem for speakers of the same language pertaining to different dialects. For example, he Spanish word limón refers to a lemon in some parts of the Spanish-speaking world but a lime in others.

Words like biscuit or suspenders are used both in British and American English but their meanings differ quite a lot. When used in Britain, a biscuit is a sweet and dry flat cake, suspenders are used by women to hold their stockings up. However, when in America, biscuit is a small airy roll, not necessarily sweet, suspenders are straps traditionally used by men to hold their pants (trousers) up.

As seen in these examples, it would be convenient to become aware of the existence of these words and try to interpret and use them correctly according to the context and the person we are talking to. Some of these confusions may cause funny situations. Others could be more serious and a real problem to communication between to speakers of different dialects. Some terms may be offensive to your interlocutor.

See below an illustration of false friends between English and Spanish. These might make you think twice about using certain words:


Despacito and the Latin Invasion

Despacito and the Latin invasion

I know that recently the OED confirmed the word of the year was Fake News – and yes, I believe we can all agree on that, but if there was a foreign word of the year, I have a funny feeling that Despacito would win. It even has its own Wikipedia page! *


Despacito has been more than just the song of the summer, it has been the song of the year! Only those who have been in a coma since Spring would not know of it. In just 7 months on YouTube, it became the most watched music video ever.  And what did it take to be the most watched video? Just 3 billion views…. It is also the most streamed song in the world- being listened to 4.6 billion times! Despacito reached number 1 in 45 countries, including good old Britain. The last Spanish song to do that here was the Macarena in 1996. The song has been nominated for 23 awards (remixes and original). Winning 6 so far, while 8 are still to be announced.

And it’s not just Despacito which has taken the world by storm this year… its Spanish/ Latina music in general. At the end of August three out of the top 10 songs were primarily in Spanish. Despacito (obviously), CNCO ‘Reggaeton Lento’ which they have collaborated with our X factor heavyhitters Little Mix, and ‘Mi Gente’ by Willy William and J Balvin, featuring Beyoncé. Let’s not forget about Enrique Iglesias ‘Subeme La Radio’ which was in 12th spot.


X Factor-

Viva Latino week – A whole episode dedicated to the resurgence in Spanish language music. There was everything from Enrique Iglesias to Camila Cabello in the show. ‘Reggaeton Lento’ from the Ex X factor heavyweights Little Mix was also on the show. It wasn’t just the music that got people talking as well. It was also Nicole Scherzinger’s attempt to put a Spanish ‘twang’ into her accent for the show. Maybe she saw Trumps ‘Puerto Rico’ attempt and wanted to jump on the bandwagon.


Strictly Come Dancing –

As Latin is one of the biggest varieties of dance on the show, this is no news that Latin music is frequent on Strictly. But during this year’s dances Aston from VLS and his partner Janette did dance to Despacito for their salsa.


So, what does this mean?

Publicity like this can only be good. More and more people are opening themselves up to more languages. A song in a different beat, from a different culture, in a different language. PSY’s Gangnam Style in 2012 showed that it could be done, and now the Latina music is ‘pitching up’ in everyone’s charts. Here’s hoping more foreign music language pops up in our charts next year! *

Aphasia featured on TV | Lingua Translations

Aphasia featured on TV

What would happen if all of the sudden you lost the ability to speak your mother tongue? Can you imagine trying to communicate but not being able to? Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language (typically in the left hemisphere). The most common cause of aphasia is stroke, though it can also be caused by tumors or head trauma.

Do you remember the show Lost? On season six, one of the characters suffers from aphasia. Sun, who is bilingual and speaks English and Korean, runs off, however, she bumps her head on a low branch and falls unconscious. Upon awakening, she realizes she can no longer speak English. She has the ability to understand the language but is only able to answer in Korean.

The second season of the TV show House M.D. features a patient who suffers from aphasia. Reporter Fletcher Stone collapses and hits his head on a desk while making a farewell speech for his retiring boss. When he wakes up shortly after, he’s is talking nonsense, while he believes he’s talking and writing normally. He is later diagnosed with both aphasia and dysgraphia.

Luckily for some people, aphasia will be temporary, resolving in the first few days or even hours after their stroke or brain injury.  Others will have a long recovery of months or even years. People with aphasia need stimulating environments that force them to interact with others and engage different areas of the brain.


Afasia en la televisión

¿Qué pasaría si de repente perdieses la habilidad de hablar tu idioma nativo? ¿Te imaginas intentar comunicarte pero ser incapaz de hacerlo? La afasia es un trastorno de la comunicación que tiene lugar debido a daños en las partes del cerebro encargadas del lenguaje (normalmente en el hemisferio izquierdo). La causa más común de una afasia es debido a un ictus, aunque también puede estar causada por tumores o por heridas en la cabeza.

¿Recuerdas la serie de Perdidos? En la temporada seis, uno de los personajes sufre una afasia. Sun, que es bilingüe y habla inglés y coreano, sale corriendo, pero se golpea la cabeza con una rama y cae al suelo inconsciente. Cuando despierta se da cuenta de que no puede hablar inglés. Puede comprenderlo perfectamente, pero sólo es capaz de responder en coreano.

En la segunda temporada de House M.D. aparece un paciente que padece una afasia. Un reportero, Fletcher Stone, se desmaya y se golpea la cabeza contra el escritorio mientras pronunciaba un discurso para la jubilación de su jefe. Se despierta poco después y su discurso no tiene sentido. Sin embargo, él cree estar hablando y escribiendo correctamente. Más tarde se le diagnostica con afasia y disgrafia.

Por suerte para muchos, la afasia resulta ser temporal, recuperándose en los primeros días o incluso horas después de sufrir un ictus o heridas cerebrales. A otros les espera una larga recuperación de meses o años. La gente con afasia necesita entornos estimulantes que les fuercen a interactuar con otros y a utilizar diferentes áreas del cerebro.

The Military Alphabet | Lingua Translations

The Military Alphabet


Many people know the military alphabet, maybe not all of it, but a fair few of them! From my time working in a government office, you need to know this alphabet. This alphabet does differ a bit from the American one. In America, Sierra can be someone’s name: Ciara. So, they may use Sugar instead of Sierra. Guessing they are not overly fond of the work Yankee either, so they tend to use Yellow.

A few days my husband ‘mocked’ me for spelling my name like this. ‘J for Juliet, U for Uniform, L for Lima, I for India, A for Alfa. He reminded me that my name is technically Julia, so why not J for Julia, not Juliet. Well… that sounds crazy to me! It’s always J for Juliet! If not, I might as well as be Phoebe!

“P as in Phoebe

H as in hoebe

O as in oebe

E as in ebe

B as in b-be

and E as in… ‘ello there, mate!”

Granted, this is amazing! And I wish I had the guts to stand there and say my name like that, but I have been trained in the military alphabet, not the Phoebe alphabet!


The alphabet:




What about those pesky people who use random words? Anyone who has worked in a call centre has more than likely heard these:

A for Aisle

C for Cue

G for Gnome

K for Knight

S for See

Y for You


You see where I’m going with this!! There are some words where you can attempt the ‘sarcastic alphabet’ and absolutely confuse the person you are speaking to.


Chinese Whisper with Google Translate

Chinese whisper anyone?


A little while ago we wanted to see how reliable google translate was, especially when it came to back translation. Our resident Spaniard wanted to test Google on two Spanish phrases and see what happens when you put it through their back translation.


Take a look!

Example 1: To prefer what one is accustomed to

From what it should’ve said: ‘To prefer what one is accustomed to’, to ‘Peeling the mountain goat’… That’s rather impressive! Not many would link those two together.

Example 2: To flee hastily

At least with this one, its on the same topic. This ones goes from ‘To flee hastily’ to ‘Running away from my legs helps me’. The end translation doesn’t make much sense though! Surely you can’t run away from your legs…. and surely that would not help you!

As you can see the back translations are very far from the originals! That’s the case with Chinese Whisper… its starts correctly, but after being passed around it becomes something completely different. We know that Google Translate is a wonderful tool that so many people use, but you really should not relay on it in its current format. Idioms, similes, metaphors… all of these it struggles to understand correctly. Poetic translations would be doomed here! Maybe in the future with more development and research programmes like Google Translate might be able to offer more accurate translations. We do not like the idea of Chinese Whisper when it comes to translation. We believe the only way to get a right translation is straight from the native translator. A human translator.

New Zealand and the Autumn Internationals

New Zealand

All Blacks 1000 × 667 ENThe last of our Autumn International anthems is the Kiwis, the all blacks and the triple world champions. When you think of Rugby, you think of New Zealand. Go anywhere in the world… whether rugby is played there or not, and they will know about the All Blacks. They will also know a bit about the Haka. We wrote about the Haka a few months ago for the Lions tour of New Zealand… you should check it out!

New Zealand Rugby team was founded in 1884 and played their first international test match against the Aussies in 1903. From the start the Kiwis were a force to be reckoned with. In 1905 they went on a tour of Europe and North America, playing 34 games (5 of them were test matches) and lost once! It was this year they were given the nickname the All Blacks as their strip was completely black besides a silver fern emblem.

Strong competition

In the 100 odd years of playing Rugby they have faced 19 nations. Over that time only 6 of those countries have ever recorded a win against them. How impressive is that?! New Zealand have been 1st in the IRB rankings longer than everyone else combined. In the Tri Nations/ Rugby Championship- they have won the title 14 out of 21 times… Remember that Australia and South Africa – both 2-time world champions are also in that competition.  Since the World Rugby Team of the Year award was created in 2001, the All Blacks have won it 10 times! Leaving just 6 years in its span for other countries to claim the prize.

More statistics to make their opposition crumble in fear!

They have only lost at home 38 times… Ever! In 435 test matches- giving them a 77.12%-win rate over 100odd years. Their longest winning streak was 18 test victories between 2015 and 2016 (shared by England as the world record).

Sometimes when you lose against the All Blacks, you lose badly. Argentina, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Samoa, South Africa and Tonga had their heaviest defeats from the All Blacks.

Not that anyone is surprised, but New Zealand are currently 1st in the IRB rankings, 3 points ahead of their closest rival, England. Their worst ever rating is 3rd… That’s right, bronze is the worst IRB ranking they’ve ever had! They have been 1st since 2011 and nobody has taken them off that top spot.


Normally at this point I note all the teams they have won against… I’m not going to do that.. Instead here’s who they have lost to!

South Africa- the most successful team against New Zealand! – winning 35 of the 95 matches – giving New Zealand a 60% win ratio.

Australia – 43 times out of 161 (win ratio of 68.94%)

British and Irish Lions – lost 7 of the 41 games, drawing 4 – overall win ratio of 73.17

France – lost 12 out of 58 matches, drawing 1 – overall win ratio of 77.58%

England – lost 7 of the 40 games played- drawing 1 – win ratio of 80%

Wales – have beaten the All Blacks 3 times out of 33 meetings- giving them a 90.91% win ratio against the Welsh.

Ireland – won a match last year- the first time ever against the All Blacks – they are also the team that stopped their 18-match winning streak. Coincidentally they also stopped England this year from going 19 matches unbeaten… 93.33% win ratio

Scotland – have never beaten the All Blacks but have drawn 2 matches out of 30 with them. Giving the All Blacks a 93.33% win ratio

Argentina – drew a match out of 26.. Still a 96.15% win ratio


The Anthem

The anthem is sung in Māori and then in English for Rugby matches. The English God Defend New Zealand was written in the 1870s with the Māori Aotearoa a few years later. The first performance of God Defend New Zealand was on Christmas Day 1876 and became more and more popular. By the 1940s it was used as the national hymn. Until the 1970’s the national anthem was God Save the Queen, but with the permission of Queen Elizabeth II, God Defend New Zealand was given equal standing as the national anthem. It wasn’t until the Rugby World Cup of 1999 that New Zealand decided to sing both the Aotearoa and God Defend New Zealand as their anthem.



E Ihowā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā
Āta whakarangona;
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
Manaakitia mai


God Defend New Zealand

God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.


New Zealand face Scotland, Wales and France in this year’s Autumn Internationals. They have already had two games against the French which was a 38-18 victory in Paris to the All Blacks, followed by another victory in Lyon (23-28). Scotland have only ever drawn against the All Blacks, and it has been decades since Wales won. Will there be an upset on the cards this year?

Japan and the Autumn Internationals

Japan National Rugby Union Team

Like a lot of our teams, Japan too has a nickname. The Brave Blossoms. Rugby has been played in Japan since 1866, with universities creating teams by the turn of the 20th century. Japan recorded their first victory in 1932 against Canada and are known as the strongest Rugby union power in Asia.

Japan have been in all 6 of the World Cups. Although the Brave Blossoms are a second-tier team they have knocked a few teams off their high pedestals. In 1971 they narrowly lost to England 6-3! They closest they have ever come to beating the English. In 1989 Japan recorded their first victory against Scotland. Japan then beat Wales in 2003 with a thumping 23-8 score line! But these almost victories and victories are nothing compared to their 2015 win. Arguably the biggest upset in Rugby Union. Japan beat the Springboks 34-32… That’s right, the two-time champions South Africa…. Impressed? You can thank Eddie Jones the coach for bringing the team together to bring us that magical match. On a sour note though, Japan became the first ever team to win 3 out of 4 games in the pool stage but fail to progress to the knock out stage. This is due to the unfortunate thrashing given to them by Scotland.

The Brave Blossom’s are currently in 11th place in the IRB rankings, between Argentina and Georgia. The lowest the Brave Blossoms have been in 20th and that was a decade ago, since then they have hit 9th spot! Japan have won 146 out of the 339 games they have played, but a lot of those wins have been against second and third tier teams.


The Anthem

Kimigayo is based on a waka poem written in the Heian Period (794-1185), making the lyrics some of the world’s oldest national anthems. During the Empire of Japan, the Kimigayo was the national anthem. Since it became a de facto anthem and was reinstated in 1999 as the official anthem once more.



Kimigayo wa
Chiyo ni yachiyo ni
Sazare-ishi no
Iwao to narite
Koke no musu made


English translation

May your reign
Continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations,
Until the pebbles
Grow into boulders
Lush with moss


This is the Poetic English:

Thousands of years of happy reign be thine;
Rule on, my lord, until what are pebbles now
By ages united to mighty rocks shall grow
Whose venerable sides the moss doth line.



The Brave Blossoms started their autumn internationals on the 4th November at home to Australia where they lost 30-63. They now travel to France to face Les Bleus on the 25th. They have never beaten the French, could they finish their year on a high note? Let’s see!

Australia and the Autumn Internationals


The Wallabies – one of the most successful Rugby nations out there. Australia have been playing rugby since 1899 and have been rather dominant in the sport. The Wallabies have competed in all 8 Rugby World Cups, winning in 1991 in Twickenham and 1999 at the Millennium Stadium.

The Wallabies 1084 × 1024

They have also appeared in 4 out of 8 finals. They were close to making it 3 world cups in 2003 when they were in the final against England at home. Thanks to a late drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson, they were denied the 3rd title.

Why the Wallabies?

Well couldn’t get out-done by the All Blacks! At the start of the 20th Century, the English press dubbed New Zealand the All Blacks after a tour down under. It was suggested that Australia ought to have a nickname as well. The original idea was the rabbits – but the Aussies deemed rabbits an imported pest, and opted for the native Wallaby instead. It stuck, and thank God it did! The Wallabies sound a lot better than the Rabbits.

Australia are one of the 4 teams in the Rugby Championship (4 Nations). They were the 2nd most successful team in the 15 years of Tri Nations winning 29 out of 72 games. Since the Rugby Championship they are still 2nd winning 15 out of 33. Still a long way off New Zealand who have won 30 out of 33 of the games since 2012!


Australia have always been in the top 6 of the IRB rankings. Currently in 3rd place between England and Ireland, they have never been 1st. The rankings were introduced in 2003, after their two World Cup wins which would’ve seen them top.


Advance Australia Fair

Advance Australia Fair was made in 1878 and was a patriotic song. It became the official national anthem, replacing God Save the Queen in 1984. It has been sung at their rugby matches since. It has been under some criticism of late as indigenous Australians found some of the words offensive, but it remains their anthem.

Australians all let us rejoice,

For we are young and free;

We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;

Our home is girt by sea;

Our land abounds in nature’s gifts

Of beauty rich and rare;

In history’s page, let every stage

Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,

Advance Australia Fair.


Beneath our radiant Southern Cross

We’ll toil with hearts and hands;

To make this Commonwealth of ours

Renowned of all the lands;

For those who’ve come across the seas

We’ve boundless plains to share;

With courage let us all combine

To Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,

Advance Australia Fair.



Australia face Wales, England and Scotland in this year’s Autumn Internationals. With a win under their belts from Wales, they will be relishing the English who won against Argentina last weekend. They have won 25 out of the 48 games against England, so who knows who will win this next game. They currently have a 55%-win rate under Michael Cheika, but with their old coach Eddie Jones, they had a 58%-win rate. Since Eddie took over the coaching duty at England, he was won his 4 matches against Australia – so clearly the Wallabies will be looking for some payback after an awful 2016 against the English. They have a better win ratio against Scotland, winning 21 of the 31 games, but with Scotland doing very well this year, they will have a lot to prove.



Beaujolais day

Beaujolais day

Beaujolais day…. Is it just Swansea that celebrates it after all?

Beaujolais nouveau day is a day to celebrate the first harvest of Gamay Grapes that makes the Beaujolais wine from the Burgundy region of France. It normally happens on the 3rd Thursday of November, which is 16th November this year. The wine is produced, bottled and released within a few weeks of the harvest.

Beaujolais nouveau will taste different year after year, depending on the weather the region had. Due to the quick fermentation process, the wine does not have the depth and structure of other wines but is fresh, fruity and can have tones of cherry, strawberry and raspberry. It’s not known as a well-established wine due to the speed it takes to get the drink produced. Nevertheless, Swansea celebrate this wine above all others.

So, what’s the hype then Swansea??

I have lived in France, and knew nothing of this day. Clearly someone somewhere in France must be celebrating it outside of the Beaujolais region! It wasn’t until I moved to Swansea that I noticed half the city has the day off to attend this event. Beaujolais day is something you book for months in advance (like a Christmas party). The whole city goes Beaujolais mad!

Thousands of people dress up in their best clothes and hit the city centre for a day of drinking, eating and celebrating with friends and colleagues. Restaurants and bars are full, public venues and marquees are put up across the city for the city’s wine lovers raise a toast to the first wine of the season. In 2016, Beaujolais day was ranked as the third busiest night in Swansea, after ‘black Friday’ and New Year’s Eve (not bad for a Thursday!) Beaujolais 2016 also brought in an estimated £5 to the local economy.

Beaujolais is no joke here in Swansea! Bars and restaurants across the city brace for one of the busiest days of the year. Even though it’s on a Thursday, bars prepare for a packed crowd at 2pm, providing live music from the early afternoon, late into the night. The Brangwyn Hall, Swansea (notably used for university examinations and old venue for graduations) has hosted a Beaujolais day for a few years, and this year they have invited X factor and Dancing on Ice star Chico (the guy from ‘its Chico time’ – yes… him!). This is how seriously we take Beaujolais day here! Beaujolais day is actually a whole day as well. The Brangwyn will be opening their doors at 12 noon for this event!

Is Swansea the Beaujolais capital?

Swansea does have some competition for the city that celebrates Beaujolais day: Cardiff. Nowhere near the size and hype as Swansea, but they are joining in on the Beaujolais band wagon and enjoying a cheeky Thursday drinking afternoon. London does have various events for Beaujolais day as well, but not to the extent as Swansea!

Outside of Britain the main competition Beaujolais is Japan. Last year, reports state that 60 million bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau was shipped over to Japan. With an estimated 127 million population, that means 1 bottle between every 2 citizens. If you take out the under 18’s you have a bit more than half a bottle each! So, they might be as crazy as us in Swansea…. Or even a bit more seeing the distance the bottles must travel!


Wherever you may be on Beaujolais Day, enjoy!

Wernicke’s Area | Área de Wernicke

Wernicke’s area

It is well known that the brain is a complex organ that controls all functions of the body. Since the late nineteenth century, Wernicke’s area is considered to be one of the two parts of the cerebral cortex linked to speech. It was first described by German neurologist Carl Wernicke. This area is involved in the comprehension of written and spoken language. It is located in the posterior third of the upper temporal convolution of the left hemisphere of the brain. Thus, it lies close to the auditory cortex.


Wernicke’s area is connected to another brain region called Broca’s area, which is involved in language processing. This area controls the functions involved with speech production. These two brain areas together enable us to speak, interpret, process and understand spoken and written language. Wernicke’s area functions include:

  • Language Comprehension
  • Semantic Processing
  • Language Recognition
  • Language Interpretation


Individuals with damage affecting their Wernicke’s area can develop a condition called Wernicke’s aphasia or fluent aphasia. These individuals experience difficulties comprehending language and communicating ideas. They are able to speak words and form sentences that are grammatically correct, however, the sentences do not make sense. They may include unrelated words or words that have no meaning in their sentences. These individuals lose the ability to connect words with their appropriate meanings. They are often unaware that what they are saying does not make sense.


Área de Wernicke

Es bien conocido que el cerebro es un órgano complejo que controla todas las funciones del cuerpo. Desde finales del siglo XIX, se considera que el área de Wernicke es una de las dos áreas de la corteza cerebral relacionadas con el lenguaje. Fue descrita por primera vez por el neurólogo alemán Wernicke. Esta área forma parte de la comprensión del lenguaje hablado y escrito. Está ubicada en el tercio posterior superior de la circunvolución temporal superior del hemisferio izquierdo. Por lo que se encuentra cercana a la corteza auditiva.


El área está conectada a otra región cerebral llamada área de Broca, que se encarga del procesamiento del idioma. Esta área controla las funciones involucradas en la producción del discurso. Juntas nos permiten hablar, interpretar, procesar u comprender el lenguaje hablado y escrito. Las funciones del área de Wernicke incluyen:

  • Comprensión del lenguaje
  • Procesamiento semántico
  • Reconocimiento del lenguaje
  • Interpretación del lenguaje


Los individuos con daños que afecten al área de Wernicke pueden desarrollar un trastorno llamado afasia de Wernicke, también conocida como afasia fluente, afasia sensorial, afasia receptiva, o afasia de comprensión. Estas personas experimentan dificultades para comprender el lenguaje y comunicar ideas. Son capaces de pronunciar palabras y formar oraciones gramaticalmente correctas, sin embargo, las oraciones no tienen sentido. Pueden incluir palabras no relacionadas o que no tienen significado en el contexto. Pierden la capacidad de conectar las palabras con su significado correcto y normalmente no son conscientes de que su producción del lenguaje no tiene sentido.

South Africa | The Autumn Internationals

South Africa

south africa 255 × 198Next up on our Autumn International list is South Africa, the 2-time World Champions. South Africa’s relationship with Rugby is long and complicated, but it does make for some entertaining and inspirational rugby!

Known as the Springboks, they have been representing the country in international rugby union since 1891. South Africa never competed in the first two world cups because of the apartheid, but they hosted the 1995 cup. To everyone’s surprise, they won it as well. They beat the All Black giants 15-12, also known as one of the country’s greatest sporting moments. 12 years later, they won the trophy again at the Stade de France against England, promoting themselves to 1st place in the IRB rankings.

South Africa are one of the four teams in the 4 Nations – southern hemisphere tournament along with Argentina, New Zealand and Australia (all of whom are currently touring in the Autumn Internationals).  Currently they lie in 5th spot on the IRB rankings, after a rather dismal display in the southern hemisphere championship. The Springboks had their worst defeat against the All Blacks in September where they lost 57-0 in Auckland.


1995 world cup – ‘one team, one country’

As I said earlier, South Africa make for some inspirational and entertaining rugby. That is very present in the 1995 world cup. At the end of the Apartheid, the Springboks came back into rugby and hosted the 1995 world Cup. They were seeded 9th and went and won it. Although the slogan was ‘one team, one country’ the rifts were still deep in the country, and it took the world cup to begin the healing process.

South African rugby was seen as a ‘white’ sport to the black population. Nelson Mandela saw to that by showing the entire country that we are one team, by wearing the shirt. This was seen as a major step towards reconciliation of the country. This was chronicled in a book called ‘Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that made a nation’. This later inspired an Academy Award nominated film starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman called Invictus.

Rugby isn’t normally in the headlines, but the story of South Africa, showed the greatness that Rugby can do. Over the years, South Africa have faced 25 countries, winning games against them all, besides, surprisingly enough: Japan. This was in the latest World Cup, where Japan shocked the world by beating the 2-time champions 34-32.


The Anthem

Quite possibly one of the best anthems (from a language point of view) out there! The Anthem is a portrayal of all who call South Africa home. It’s in 5 languages, each have a verse. The first verse is Xhosa, followed by Zulu, then Sesotho, Afrikaans then finishing with English. These are the most widely spoken languages in the country.


Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

XhosaNkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo
ZuluYizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.
SesothoMorena boloka setshaba sa heso,
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
O se boloke, O se boloke setshaba sa heso,
Setshaba sa, South Afrika, South Afrika.
AfrikaansUit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee,
EnglishSounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Africa our land!


Lord Bless Africa

Lord bless Africa
May her glory be lifted high

Hear our prayers
Lord bless us, your children.

Lord we ask you to protect our nation,
Intervene and end all conflicts,
Protect us, protect our nation,
the nation of South Africa, South Africa.

Out of the blue of our heavens,
Out of the depths of our seas,
Over everlasting mountains,
Where the echoing crags resound

Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Africa our land!


This has been the anthem of South Africa since 1997 which is a merge of Die Stem Van Suid-Afrika and the hymn Nkosi Sikelei iAfrika! Both of these songs were adopted as National Anthems in 1994. But then a merge to know just one (but both of them at the same time) was made.


During these Autumn Internationals, South Africa face Ireland, France and Italy. Unfortunately, their tour hasn’t gotten off to the best start as they lost their opening match against Ireland over the weekend. They had a heavy defeat of 38-3. They are up against France who they have a 59%-win ratio over. If they want to finish 2017 on a high, they will need to improve a lot. But as we’ve seen from the Springboks- anything can happen!

Samoa and the Autumn Internationals

Next on our Autumn International list is the Samoan team!

The Samoan rugby team is also known as “Manu Samoa”. This is in honour of a famous Samoan warrior. Like Fiji, the Samoans too perform a war dance before each game. Theirs is called the Siva Tau.


The Samoans started playing rugby in the 1920s and are part of the Pacific Tri Nations alongside Fiji and Tonga. Originally, they played as “Western Samoa”, but in 1997 they changed their name. They have competed in the World Cup since 1991, reaching the quarter finals in 1991 and 1995. An impressive result for the Island nation and reached their highest ranked IFU score in 2013, becoming 7th in the world. As it stands they are currently 16th in the world, their lowest ever ranking.

Wales, Argentina, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and even Australia have felt defeat by the hands of the Samoans. Against Wales they have won 4 of the 10 matches played against them. They can be, at times quite a team to come across. With a strong heritage of rugby, they can on their day topple the greats.

The Banner of Freedom

This has been the Samoan anthem since they gained independence from New Zealand in 1962. The anthem emphasises their strong Christian background. Many Samoan players will neither play or train on Sunday due to their religion. Along with the Siva Tau, this is heard at all Samoan games.

O Le Fu’a o Le Sa’olotoga

Samoa, tula’i ma sisi ia lau fu’a, lou pale lea!

Samoa, tula’i ma sisi ia lau fu’a, lou pale lea!

Vaai ‘i na fetu o lo’u a agiagia ai:

Le faailoga lea o Iesu, na maliu ai mo Samoa.

Oi, Samoa e, u’u mau lau pule ia faavavau.

‘Aua e te fefe; o le Atua lo ta fa’avae, o lota sa’olotoga.

Samoa, tula’i: ‘ua agiagia lau fu’a, lou pale lea!


The Banner of Freedom

Samoa, arise and raise your flag, your crown!

Samoa, arise and raise your flag, your crown!

Look at those stars that are waving on it:

This is the symbol of Jesus, who died on it for Samoa.

Oh, Samoa, hold fast your power forever.

Do not be afraid; God is our foundation, our freedom.

Samoa, arise: your flag is waving, your crown!


They have two matches in this year’s Autumn Internationals against Scotland and England. Having only beaten Scotland once in 10 meetings, and after this weekend, that is now once in 11 meetings after losing 44-38 at Murrayfield. The Samoans ran through 5 tries to Scotland’s 6 – so clearly there’s no issues with their attack, but maybe their defence needs tightening before their trip to Twickenham. They have never beaten the English in their 7 meetings. Could this be their time to claw up the IFU table and conquer some Northern Hemisphere giants?